Not expecting to play in Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Kings, J.P. Dumont was not in a hurry to get to Bridgestone Arena.
Things changed quickly when he received a call while he was driving toward downtown. Dumont said that he was near the team’s practice facility at Centennial Sportsplex when he got word.
“That mile and a half that I had to do was a lot of cars and a lot of red lights,” Dumont said. “I felt like everybody was slowing down in front of me, but I got here just in time.”
A lower-body injury to Joel Ward meant that the Predators needed Dumont dress for the game. Ward took part in the warmup and even did the pregame interview with Fox Sports Tennessee while he was on the ice.
“I was almost at the rink, so I was kind of surprised to get the call,” Dumont said. “They said that Wardo was not good to go so I had to be ready to go. It is one of those things that when you get caught by surprise, your heartbeat goes up right away.”
The loss of Ward was a big one for the Predators, as he has scored a goal in each of the last three contests, adding assists in his last two.
Following the game, Head Coach Barry Trotz said that Ward was checked out by the team’s doctors Tuesday morning, and they said that he would be ready to go against the Kings. As a result of that conversation, Trotz told Dumont that we would not be in the lineup.
“As a pro, as he always is, he put on his equipment and gave his best effort,” Trotz said.
Trotz went on to say that players who are likely to be scratched are not expected at the rink until the warmup.
“Obviously trying to get to the rink sometimes with all of the stuff that is going on, he came with his family, so we just said, ‘Get here by warmup, or as warmup is going, and if we have to make a change you can jump right in.’”
A healthy scratch in six of Nashville’s last seven games, Dumont scored a goal at 12:43 of the third to bring the Predators to within one, making it 3-2 at the time.
In the right circle with his stick waist high parallel to the ice, Dumont was able to deflect Cody Franson’s shot from the right point by Kings goaltender Jonathan Bernier. After the puck went into the Los Angeles net, Dumont made an emphatic celebratory punch in the air.
“It felt good,” Dumont said. “3-1 with still eight-nine minutes to go and we scored. We were all over them in the third period. At that point, it was definitely a huge goal.”
Dumont had not scored since Nashville’s January 18th game at Phoenix when he recorded a hat trick, so as good as it felt to bring the team to within one, it had to feel good to end a nearly two-month personal goalless stretch.
The Predators would get no closer though. Dumont had just one more shift in the third, as he stepped onto the ice as the extra attacker when Pekka Rinne came to the bench. Just as Dumont was coming on, Martin Erat lost the puck to Dustin Brown who fired it into Nashville’s empty net to account for the final score of 4-2.