Now he’s the most effective Predators player of all time. Roman Josie from the Nashville Predators scored the winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday to make it 3:2 (final score 4:2) and thus recorded his 567th scorer point. Never before has a Predators player scored so many times. “It’s definitely a great honor to be here for so long,” said Josi, who made his debut for the Predators a good eleven years ago, on November 26, 2011 to be precise. He is now in his 12th season for this franchise. “It’s something I obviously never dreamed of when I first started out in the NHL. There were just so many people who put a lot of trust in me. There were so many people I’m grateful for and so are many Teammates and employees who have been here for so long.”
When Josi stepped on the ice before the game against the Blackhawks, he was one point behind record holder David Legwand with 566 points in Predators history. Josi equaled this record when he elegantly scored from close range in the 42nd minute. Five minutes later he prepared the 4:2 for Thomas Novak in the power play, so that he is now the sole record holder. In general, the Swiss is only the second defender in the NHL to set a franchise record for the most points scored. This was otherwise only achieved by Ray Bourque, who is the Boston Bruins’ record holder with 1506 points.
“What a great performance from Roman,” said coach John Hynes. “This franchise has had so many really good, successful players. I think that speaks volumes, not just about his talent but his longevity and what he means to the organization.” The trainer is happy “to have the opportunity to coach him and to work with him every day. I would say the record is not surprising. He is such a talented guy who is motivated and committed. The consistency with which he’s playing is certainly exceptional. You’re not going to achieve as much and get as much recognition if you’re not a highly talented player who’s really motivated. And that’s what he is.” His teammate Novak also praised Josi in the highest tones: “What a performance from him. He’s just an outstanding player.”
The win against the Blackhawks, which also included the Swiss Nino Niederreiter and Matt Duchene each contributed a goal was not only important because of Josi’s record. It may also have been a sign that the Predators are past their rough patch. Between December 8 and December 17, Nashville had lost six straight games and scored in only two of them. That was the longest misery of the current season for this team. After breaking the negative run with a 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, they now won their second game in a row against Chicago.
“I think when you’re going through a little tougher phase, the most important thing is that you work to get better and return to an identity that gives you a chance to win,” explains the coach. “I think we’ve done that. I think we’re playing a faster game and that makes us more competitive. I would also say we’re generating more offense, which we struggled a bit with. We’re moving in the right direction. That we Finding ways to win games is a big part of that.”
From Nashville’s point of view, the fact that the Predators scored both against the Blackhawks and before that against the Oilers in the power play is also encouraging. The majority game is actually the great weakness of this team. With a success rate of only 15.7 percent, they are the fourth worst team in the league in this aspect. The Predators now have 32 points from 31 games and are ranked 6th in the Central Division. The wild card places are within reach with a deficit of six points.
Nashville’s next game is Friday against reigning Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche (8 pm ET, NHL.tv, Saturday 2 am).