The Nashville Predators head into tonight’s home opener against the Minnesota Wild with the weight of a lot of unanswered questions on their proverbial shoulders. Starting the season with back-to-back losses by two goals has caused what was supposed to be the Preds greatest strength–team defense–to be called into question. Defenseman Roman Josi’s concussion in the game against the Avalanche will split up Nashville top d-pairing and bring Ryan Ellis into the lineup (for his first action of the young season). The Preds hope a little home cookin’ can help to boost their sluggish offense and turn some of the attention off what has been shaky defense to begin the campaign.
As it is for almost any team, it is crucial for Nashville to score the first goal of the game tonight. Playing with a lead has always been a strength of the Preds and an early goal will allow the home team’s fans to get behind their squad. Nashville may get the boost of Filip Forsberg (listed as questionable) returning to the lineup tonight, something that has to be exciting for a team that has had limited offensive chances and looked woeful on the power play.
A lot of storylines collide in tonight’s game (including the return of Ryan Suter):
It may seem early to ask this question, but what kind of start would the Preds have to begin the season with in order for head coach Barry Trotz to be fired? If it’s anything like Philadelphia’s standard it can’t be long.
The Preds and Wild will both be looking for their first win of the season tonight (although the Wild have two points due to OT/SO losses) as NHL.com details.
For those of us going to the game tonight, get ready to boo Mr. Suter and welcome home a team that dreadfully needs a good start to tonight’s contest.
Follow @PredlinesNSH as I’ll be tweeting updates throughout the game tonight. Expect puck drop to be a little later than normal due to the introduction of the whole team and other opening night festivities.