Preds’ Erat on Game 3 win: “[We] finally showed some balls”

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There was no shortage of descriptors coming from the Preds dressing room following last night’s 2-0 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.

Head coach Barry Trotz praised the team for playing “Nashville Predators hockey.” David Legwand said the Preds were “doing things the right way.”

Then there was Martin Erat.

“Tonight we played hard for 60 minutes,” he told John Glennon of The Tennessean. “And finally showed some balls.”

More, from The Tennessean:

Erat was arguably the best player on the ice in Game 3, setting an early tone with forechecking and physical play. His strong puck-possession skills also led to a handful of Predators scoring chances.

The soft-spoken Czech forward sounded just as energized after the game as he was during the game.

“We just showed to our teammates that we are still in the series,” Erat said. “It is going to be hard. (The Coyotes) are not going to come here and just roll over for us.”

Don’t discount the size of Erat’s actions and words (also, balls.) He’s been the team’s leading scorer in each of the last two seasons, but consistently failed to raise his game come playoff time. Erat had just a single goal in the Preds’ 10-game run last postseason and his career totals (8G-15A-23PTS in 44 games with a minus-7 rating) leave plenty to be desired.

But this year, Erat’s different. The 30-year-old veteran of 10 NHL seasons sounds like a player that understands the effort required for a deep playoff run.

And more importantly, he sounds prepared to make it.

“We went to Phoenix and felt it was going to be easy, like they were going to give it to us,” Erat said. “They played hard and have an unbelievable system.

“We have to play harder than them, forecheck hard and create chances.”

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer