Fisher Scores in Return, Preds Come Back to Beat Canucks in Overtime

Nashville Predators captain Mike Fisher [Photo courtesy of]

Mike Fisher hasn’t missed a beat.

The 37-year-old forward scored in his return to action after initially walking away from the game of hockey in August. Fisher’s first of the year sparked the Preds as they erased a multiple-goal deficit to win in the third consecutive game for the first time in franchise history.

After Fisher started the comeback late in the second period, Calle Jarnkrok completed it, scoring 43 seconds into overtime to give the visitors the win on on Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

“It was fun getting back out there and getting some shifts out of the way,” said Fisher, whose goal sent the Preds into the third period only down one. “This team played a solid game. We felt like we played pretty good once we got the first 10 minutes out of the way and guys just never gave up. We felt like we always had a chance and that was a fun game.”

“Just getting that first goal and making it 2-1 and again putting life back on the bench, it’s not as much of a deficit when you’re going into the third period,” Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We felt like if we won a period we could win a game. To go down once they scored on the power play [in the third], I still think there were lots of guys on the bench saying there was still time left. We stuck to the game plan and ended up getting the equalizer.”

Bo Horvat gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead after one period of play, and Brandon Sutter made it 2-0 Vancouver with 4:56 to go in the second stanza. But, less than three minutes later, Fisher turned and fired a shot down low past Jacob Markstrom.

In the third period, with the teams playing 4-on-4 due to a major penalty to Ryan Johansen for spearing and a roughing minor to Sutter, Kevin Fiala wristed home his 21st of the season to even the score. But with the Canucks working on what was left of the Johansen major, Daniel Sedin gave his club the lead back once more.

However, the Predators kept pushing, and Ryan Ellis evened the score at 3-3 with just 2:15 remaining in regulation to force overtime. Juuse Saros made 24 saves to collect his seventh victory of the season, a key cog in the end result.

Friday’s game saw a bit of different look in the Nashville lineup with Roman Josi, Craig Smith, Scott Hartnell and Yannick Weber all being made healthy scratches with Fisher, Miikka Salomaki, Anthony Bitetto and Matt Irwin dressing for the Preds. Coach Laviolette reiterated all of his players were available to play, but rather the scratches should be considered “maintenance.”

And just as they’ve done throughout the balance of the season, the Predators found a way to get it done, no matter who was on the roster.

“We have a great team and we keep finding a way to win hockey games,” Jarnkrok said. “It’s all good.”

Don’t Call it a Comeback:
Mike Fisher said prior to Friday’s contest – his first piece of NHL action since last June after deciding to come back out of retirement – that it may take him a few games to feel completely comfortable once more.

It didn’t seem like that was the case.

Fisher scored in his season debut and was 11 of 13 in the faceoff circle in 10:45 of ice time, hardly the look of a statline for someone who hadn’t played in eight months. But there he was, creating chance after chance alongside Colton Sissons and Austin Watson, his No. 12 flapping in the breeze.

“I felt pretty good,” Fisher said following the contest. “I’ve still got a little bit to come, I think, but overall I felt OK. I think my endurance later in shifts will come just over time.”

“You wouldn’t have known that he hadn’t played,” Laviolette said of Fisher. “He was awesome. His faceoffs, his play, his battle, his defense, is offense, he was terrific.”

For those observing from afar, there was no denying the impact Fisher had on the game, not only on the scoresheet, but on Nashville’s morale as well. And that can continue down the stretch and into the postseason, there’s no telling where his presence may lead.

“Everybody’s getting a boost from it,” Laviolette said. “Everybody’s excited Mike’s back. He was such a big part of our team. Our team was doing well, but to add him back, I think just strengthens the room, strengthens the depth, strengthens our play on the iceā€¦ To add him to the locker room and to the group of guys that we have is a real positive influence.”


Nashville’s four-game road trip concludes on Sunday afternoon in Colorado against the Avalanche before returning home to host a four-game set of their own, beginning on Tuesday night when the Dallas Stars come to Bridgestone Arena.