It didn't take long for Viktor Arvidsson to become a fan favorite in Smashville. His flashy skating and energizer bunny motor has served as a joy for fans and a spark plug for the Predators.
Playing in Nashville Arvidsson has slid under the radar of many around the NHL, but that won't last for long.
The 24 year old Swedish forward scored the only goal in Nashville's 1-0 game one win over Chicago Thursday, silencing a crowd of more than 22,000 at the United Center who now know all about the Preds' winger.
"Fil got to it and he made a great shot pass," Arvidsson said. "He put it right on my tape and I just tipped it in."
It was the second career playoff goal for Arvidsson, and both have been game-winners. Preds' fans will remember the first one, an unassisted backhand flip in overtime of game six of the series against the Sharks last spring.
Even after that postseason splash, little was expected of Arvidsson coming into this year. But 31 goals later, he has cemented his place on the Preds' top line and as one of the emerging young stars in the sport.
"He's earned it," Predators head coach Peter Laviolette said. "He didn't come into camp with a seat on the number one power play and a seat on the bus on the number one line. This is a kid that's gone through the right steps and done it the right way and earned everything he's gotten. It's gotten to a point where he plays every situation for us now."
Arvidsson was a huge factor in game one, and if the Predators are to ultimately beat the Blackhawks in this series will likely need to keep it up.
Arvidsson and fellow Swede Filip Forsberg shared the team lead with 31 goals this season. Along with Johansen at center, they make up a speedy and skilled Predators top line.
It's a group that sets this Preds team a part from past editions that often failed to matchup with the talented top lines of the league's best teams like Chicago.
But with Arvidsson's emergence, Nashville now has the top line scoring to compete with anybody in the league.
"He's meant a huge deal to this team all year," Forsberg said. "I think he's been one of our more consistent players all year, and followed it up with a good effort last night, and obviously a huge goal."
Arvidsson was the difference maker in game one of this series, and changes the complexion of the Predators for good.