Your Nashville Predators take on the New York Islanders tonight at 6:00 CST at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Let’s see how these teams stack up.
- Predators 8-7-2 (18 pts) 5th in the Central
- Islanders 6-9-3 (15 pts) 6th in the Metropolitan
- Predators 2-2-1
- Islanders 1-4-0
- Goals per game – Preds 2.2 (25th) – Islanders 2.7 (14th)
- Goals against – Preds 3.1 (25th) – Islanders 3.2 (27th)
- Power Play % – Preds 20.0 (12th) – Islanders 20.3 (10th)
- Penalty Kill % – Preds 81.0 (20th) – Islanders 72.9 (30th)
The Preds are entering the home stretch of their franchise-long seventeen day road trip. Through 5 games, they have picked up 5 points but the level of play has been inconsistent. Nashville scored six goals against the NHL-leading Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday and have not scored since, a drought of 120:18. Making matters worse, they have surrendered ten goals against during that time. With Pekka Rinne still out of the lineup and Carter Hutton struggling to fill that void, the Preds have tabbed Marek Mazanec to make his first NHL start tonight. Mazanec made his NHL debut in relief against Winnipeg on Friday and made 22 saves on 24 shots. Mazanec had solid numbers in Milwaukee before getting called up to back-up Hutton. Hopefully, the new goaltender will inspire a stronger all-around effort from the Preds.
A game against the Islanders couldn’t come at a better time for the offensively challenged Preds. The Islanders are allowing more than three goals per game and sporting the league’s worst penalty kill percentage. Excluding the last couple games, the Preds power play was functioning pretty fluidly. Hopefully, the Preds can get a couple early power play chances tonight and get the goal scoring back on track.
The Islanders have been equally woeful of late, losing their last four and seven of their last ten games. The Islanders made a big splash when they traded Matt Moulson for Thomas Vanek to try to bring a spark to the struggling offensive. So far, Vanek has only 1 goal in six games and it is unclear if he will be in the line-up tonight after suffering an injury against Columbus on Saturday. The Preds will still have to be good defensively if they want to beat the Islanders. Even without Vanek, the Islanders have three players (John Tavares, Frans Nielsen, and Kyle Okposo) averaging a point a game.
Prediction – Nashville 4-2. A better defensive effort in support of Mazanec and a couple of power plays will get the job done against the Islanders.