Erat “Solid” in Return to Lineup

Martin Erat returned and scored a goal in Nashville's 3-0 win over Anaheim at Bridgestone Arena.

Martin Erat scored a goal in his return to the Predators on Saturday night. (Sarah Fuqua)

On Saturday night against the Anaheim Ducks at the Bridgestone Arena, Martin Erat made his return to the Nashville Predators lineup after missing the last 8 games due to an “upper body” injury suffered in the season opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

“It’s always tough sitting on the sideline knowing that you can’t help,” Erat said. “It’s always tough to watch the guys struggling in some games, but everything has a bad side and a good side.”

After missing 8 games, Erat could feel the rust. He had not played in a competitive hockey game in almost a month.

“You always feel it,” Erat said. “It’s not always easy to come back into the train, but the guys are playing well right now. It’s nicer to jump back onto the train when it’s going well.”

In the first period, Erat made a pass to Mike Fisher. Fisher was then leveled by Anaheim defenseman Francois Beauchemin and did not return for the remainder of the game due to an upper body injury.

“I didn’t see him at all. I had the puck between my feet and I just heard Fisher yelling,” Erat said. “I tried to get it to him, but I didn’t see the defenseman stepping up at all.”

“If I had seen him, I wouldn’t have passed it,” Erat said.

The hit itself was extremely questionable. Beauchemin received a double minor for roughing and for an illegal check to the head.

“We’ve got a rule if you get hit in the head,” Erat said, “but guys don’t get it. That’s what’s happening. I hope the league is going to step up.”

After the play, various Predators and Ducks squared off, but very few punches were actually thrown. Erat had Anaheim’s Saku Koivu as his potential dance partner. Despite coming back from an upper body injury and despite having zero career fights between the two of them, Erat was ready to drop the gloves if he felt he had to stand up for his teammate.

“If it’s needed, it’s always an option,” Erat said.

As for offense, Erat found the scoresheet for the first time this season at 18:59 of the first period on a goal assisted by Jordin Tootoo and Ryan Suter.

“I was skating two-on-two and I saw (Tootoo) coming behind me from the bench,” Erat said. “I dropped it to him and he made a great pass. I had almost an empty net and scored.”

“It’s always nice to get a goal,” Erat said, “but the win is the most important thing for us.”

In his first game back, Erat played 26 shifts in 18:29 of ice time. He took one shot and finished with a +1. Erat played a grand total of 3:21 on the power play. Overall, Barry Trotz was pleased with Erat’s return.

“It was good. It was pretty solid,” Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. “I had to play him a lot. I didn’t have a lot of options. We started having guys go down. We ended up having a lot of power plays at the end there. He played a lot and he looked good. We miss Marty when he’s out of the lineup.”

With Erat in the lineup, the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-0.

“They’ve got a good speed game,” Erat said. “They’ve got big guys and they’ve got a good team. It’s really tough to play against them. I think we played all 60 minutes well and that’s what we need from our team.”

PuckScene.com Three Stars of the Game
  1. Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators
  2. Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  3. Martin Erat – Nashville Predators
Official Three Stars of the Game
  1. Pekka Rinne – Nashville Predators
  2. Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  3. Patric Hornqvist – Nashville Predators

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.