Josi's recent offensive emergence started with Predators' next opponent

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 9:55pm

It was noteworthy a week and a half ago when Roman Josi registered an assist against the Anaheim Ducks.

High expectations were placed on the 22-year-old defenseman for his first full NHL season, particularly with respect to his ability to help the offense go. That assist, on a second-period goal by Shea Weber, was just his second point in 15 games.

Now, as the Nashville Predators prepare to face the Ducks for the third and final time this season, Wednesday at Anaheim (9 p.m., SportSouth), that one point seems like small potatoes.

Josi had four points (two goals, two assists), including the game-winning goal in Monday’s 5-4 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars.

“I haven’t had [a four-point game] in my professional career,” the native of Switzerland said. “It’s great to get one.”

It was just the fifth time in franchise history a defenseman had at least four points in a single contest, and the first time since early in the 2008-09 season. Dan Hamhuis and Marek Zidlicky share the record of five. Weber and Kimmo Timonen each had four.

Each of the previous four had only one goal – at most – in those performances. Zidlicky’s five-point game was five assists on Feb. 18, 2004 against San Jose.

Against Dallas, Josi’s first goal made it 2-2 and brought Nashville from behind to tie for the first time. His second ended things 28 seconds into overtime and was the first game-winner of his NHL career.

“I think everyone can shoot the puck in here,” left wing Patric Hornqvist said. “He has been good lately. He skates very well. He carries the puck, and [Monday’ he got two goals and really got it going.”

With six points in his last six games, beginning with the most recent game against Anaheim, Josi now has seven points on the season, which is tied for sixth among all Predators. Only three of his teammates have more than his three goals and among defensemen only Weber (eight) has more points.

“I think in the last couple of games, he’s played with a lot of jump,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I think he’s finding himself as a player in this league.  He’s very comfortable; he’s playing in all situations, and he’s becoming a very valuable on this team.”

Said Josi: “I think I have some more confidence and I am feeling good right now and am just trying to make plays.”