Fisher-led Predators send Maple Leafs to 10th straight loss
The Nashville Predators extended a streak to be proud of. The Toronto Maple Leafs want nothing to do with their own run.
Mike Fisher had a goal and two assists, and the Predators handed the Maple Leafs a franchise record-tying 10th straight loss, 4-3 Tuesday night.
Seth Jones, Shea Weber, and Colin Wilson also scored for Nashville, winners of two straight. The Predators have won a franchise-record nine consecutive home games.
"I think that's something we take pride in," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "These are our fans and they are terrific."
Daniel Winnik, Nazem Kadri, and Mike Santorelli scored for Toronto, which is 0-9-1 over its last 10.
Wilson got the go-ahead goal at 11:08 of the third.
James Neal's shot from the left side was stopped by Toronto goaltender Jonathan Bernier, but Fisher was in front to pry the rebound loose. Wilson pounced on the loose puck to put it away for his 16th of the season.
"I was just trying to dig at it," Fisher said. "I couldn't really see where exactly it was, just trying to push it loose. Willy was in a great spot."
Nashville had a late power play, but the Maple Leafs had the two best scoring chances. Winnik hit the post at 16:52 and, just seconds later, Nashville goaltender Carter Hutton was forced to make a diving swipe with his goal stick to swat away another chance off of a Tyler Bozak shot that deflected off of Winnik in front.
"Just a pop out one-timer there," Hutton said. "It's one of those ones it hits his body and you are kind of like, `Oh no.' I was able to just kind of spin and had my eye on it and I was able to catch it with my stick."
Jones scored the game's first goal at 11:52 of the opening period.
With the Maple Leafs on a power play, Jones forced a turnover by Kadri in the neutral zone. Jones collected the puck and went the other way on a breakaway, where he beat Bernier high to the glove side.
Weber gave Nashville a 2-0 lead at 15:31 of the first on a power-play goal, a slap shot from the right circle.
At last month's All-Star Skills Competition, Weber won the Hardest Shot Competition with a shot that recorded 108.5 MPH.
Winnik got the goal-starved Maple Leafs on the scoreboard at 7:49 with a one-timer from the high slot off of a pass from Santorelli, a former Predator.
Kadri and Santorelli scored goals 37 apart in the third period to give the Maple Leafs a 3-2 lead at 2:56.
Bernier left the game with 1:08 remaining in the second after denying Matt Cullen on a partial breakaway, but he cut his leg when making the save. Bernier was replaced by James Reimer, who finished the second and started the third. Bernier returned at 4:16 of the third after taking 12 stitches to his left leg.
"You're dressing here and you go out there and it's 3-2 now," Bernier said. "I don't know if Reimer is playing well, I couldn't see the game, but at the same time I wanted to go out there and do my job and show the guys I care and wanted to go back out there."
His coach gave him that shot.
"I felt with that type of care and character of him wanting to get back in the game was important and him being one of our leaders I thought it was important to let him back in today's game," Toronto interim head coach Peter Horachek said.
Tuesday night marked Horachek's return to Nashville. Horachek spent nine seasons as an assistant coach with the Predators.
Fisher tied it at 6:55 of the third from in front, taking a nice pass from Wilson, who was on the left wall.
NOTES: Tuesday was the first of 10 February home games for Nashville. ... The Predators are 11-5-1 against the Eastern Conference this season. ... Santorelli snapped an 11-game goalless streak. ... Reimer stopped all four shots he faced in 5:24 of action.