After a rather frustrating loss to Dallas on Thursday night, the Predators are back in action tonight as the New York Rangers come to town. The Blueshirts come to town coming off an overtime loss at MSG against Columbus, their second consecutive OT loss. The Rangers have been struggling posting an 2-3-5 record in their last 10 games and an overall road record of 4-10-2. Nashville has lost four in a row and can’t seem to find the net with both hands and a compass.
Thursday’s 49 shot performance was not what it seems. Give full marks to Dallas goaltender Anton Khudobin, he was excellent when he needed to be and was lucky when he needed to be. Khudobin left a lot of big fat juicy rebounds that the Preds simply could not get to, or finish. Like I said… frustrating.
As play begins today, the Predators are 4 points behind Winnipeg for the division lead and only 2 points ahead of Colorado in third. That 13-3 start is looking bigger and bigger. Is it time to push the panic button? Well… no… but the finger is starting to get itchy.
The thing to build on is the return to health from Viktor Arvidsson and PK Subban, both used Thursday to shake off the rust, you could feel the energy they brought to the lineup, but they were both just a slight bit off on timing and position. That will not last. The shots being generated, even if they were mostly directed at the crest are also a good thing. These will start to fall.
You get the feeling that this team is ready to turn the corner. Add in that aggressive forecheck to generate offense and this team will be just fine… but it needs to be said, that runway is getting shorter.
It is certainly a prime time goalie matchup tonight King Henrik vs. The Eraser. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been just OK, posting rather pedestrian numbers (for him,) a 2.87 GAA and .913 Save %. To be fair, the defense in front of Lundqvist has been fair at best. You could say the same thing about Pekka Rinne, who is the reason this Predator team has remained at the top (or close to it) of the division. The Rangers are scoring by committee, led by Chris Kreider’s 19 goals, three other Rangers have double digit goals. Double digit goals... the Preds will ice a single player with double digit goals this season, that’s Craig Smith… Ryan Hartman has 9 and Arvidsson has 8.
The Rangers only list Kevin Shattenkirk on IR as of this morning, the Preds list Yannick Weber, Filip Forsberg and Colton Sissons. Game time is 7pm, pregame coverage begins at 6pm on 102.5 the Game and 6:30pm on Fox Sports Tennessee. Very limited tickets remain…
- Milwaukee Update –The Admirals are in Iowa tonight to take on the Wild.
- The Predators set a new franchise record attendance record on Thursday night of 17,697… it may not last long as standing room tickets are selling briskly for tonight’s game.
- Tonight will be the Predators’ 130th consecutive sellout.
- The Preds are sponsoring a blood drive tonight, it begins at 3pm and goes to 7pm at the Arena. All donors will get a Red Cross t-shirt and a $10 ticket voucher.
- Mattias Ekholm led all shooters on Thursday with 8 shots.
- Scoring first is critical for the Preds… they are 17-2-0 when scoring first
- 15 games tonight in the NHL – one of only three days on the NHL schedule that features 30 of the 31 teams in action.
- Team USA won their second straight in the WJC yesterday, taking down Kazakhstan 8-2. The US play again tonight, taking on Sweden in a battle of the only two undefeated teams in Group B.
- Team Finland is 1-1 so far, Eeli Tolvanen has been held off the scoresheet thus far. Finland takes on Slovakia tonight.
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