We all remember our first, and Predators rookie Samuel Girard will certainly remember his first NHL goal, With the Dallas Stars leading 1-0 in the 2nd period, Gerard ripped a shot past Stars goalie Ben Bishop to tie the game 3:27 into the frame. Girard said after the game, “I just put the puck at the net and it was a great shot that went in. It was kind of weird to score and after get hugged by Subban. It was a nice pass by Subban, he brought all the players to him, just made a good pass, and I just put the puck in the net.”
Girard’s goal electrified the crowd and the team, as the Predators quickly added another goal from Filip Forsberg, his 4th of the young season, in the 2nd to take a 2-1 lead into the 3rd period.
Viktor Arvidsson added a goal 15:09 into the 3rd. after getting behind the Stars defense after a nice assist from Forsberg to put the Predators up 3-1. P.K. Subban threw in an empty-netter from the other end to make the final score 4-1. Pekka Rinne stopped 30 of 31 shots faced.
Coach Peter Laviolette’s postgame quotes –
On the consistency of the effort in tonight’s game…
I thought it was really good. I thought we got better as the game went on. They’re a good team, and they’re capable of flipping a switch offensively. I thought we tightened down a little defensively as the game went on. There were a couple of shifts in the second period where we stayed in our end a little bit too long, but I thought we played a better portion of it in the offensive zone. They did some damage when they came back to our end. The first period – it’s not that we weren’t ready to play or didn’t want to do the right things. The puck didn’t sit our way, it didn’t bounce our way. It looked out of sort a bit. But, fighting through that in the second and third we managed the puck a bit better which helped us manage the game.
On Samuel Girard’s performance in tonight’s game…
We saw the stuff he was doing with the puck. We saw it last year and we see it again this year in training camp. He buys himself some time. He’s able to make plays that are clean plays. As we were watching through training camp, we’re watching him defend to see if he can handle it. So far, at every turn he has. He’s played against some big lines and some big players. He’s smart, he closes quick. He has a really good stick defensively. He manages his game really well.
On the reaction of the team upon Girard’s goal…
That’s everyone’s reaction. Everyone is happy for him. He’s a young kid and only in his second game. He’s delivering big plays at big moments.
On the difficulties defenseman face in the game after losing Yannick Weber…
It’s difficult for all the defensemen. Losing Yannick (Weber) that early in the game makes it a little more challenging managing the bench… There’s confidence from us to put him out there. He’s doing the job. It does take a shot at the three pairs and matchups you want to get. I thought all of our defensemen responded really well to the game. I think we got even better defensively.
The Predators travel to Chicago next to face the Blackhawks on Saturday. It will be their first meeting since the Predators swept the Blackhawks in the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season.