Jerred back in the Saddle

STEVE MACFARLANE -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Jerred Smithson has scored a few goals in the Saddledome but maybe none as thrilling as the one he tallied last night.

The Calgary Hitmen product potted his third of the season for the Nashville Predators 8:46 into the third period to tie the game 3-3, helping spark the Preds to a 4-3 comeback victory over the Calgary Flames.

"It was definitely exciting," said a smiling Smithson afterward.

"I don't contribute offensively too much but it was a good feeling. It was a lot of fun. I've got a lot of friends and family in the stands."

Smithson played five seasons with the WHL Hitmen. The lanky 6-ft. 3-in. centre contributed mainly on the penalty kill and in a checking role but put up a pair of 14-goal campaigns in junior.

On a line with Darcy Hordichuk and Jordin Tootoo last night, he was used in similar fashion. But the grinders were arguably the Predators' best trio.

"I thought our line brought a lot of energy, especially when we were down a few goals," said Smithson, who now has six points and a plus-eight rating over 20 games.

"Darcy Hordichuk I think started it off for with a big scrap for us. We started believing and plugging away."

Their hard work paid off when Tootoo slammed into the end boards with Flames defender Robyn Regehr and fished the puck to Smithson in the slot.

Smithson, who wasn't drafted but made his NHL 'Dome debut with Los Angeles a couple of years ago, beat Flames goaltender Philippe Sauve with a quick shot to the corner.

"Tootoo got in there on the forecheck and just kind of put it out there for me," Smithson said. "I just tried to get it off quick and lucky enough, it went in."

Less than five minutes later, Scottie Upshall gave the Predators their first lead of the game.

The grinders played a lot of critical minutes late to secure the win, something Smithson was happy to be a part of.

"It was a lot of fun. Coach (Barry) Trotz showed a lot of confidence in us," said the 26-year-old. "We kept it simple, too. We were pretty solid in our own zone and just kept the puck moving forward. Got in there physically and did a good job."

Hordichuk, who dropped the gloves with Flames enforcer Chris Simon early in the first period, says his team has been battling injuries but the team is finding ways to win.

"The guys that are coming up here are stepping into the lineup, they're doing great," he said.

"It doesn't matter how much talent the other team has, as long as you have the chemistry and work hard, you're going to come out with the victories."


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