Nashville Predators Set To Take On New Jersey Devils


It’s Valentine’s Day everyone! So happy Valentine’s to you, and whether or not you have a sweetheart on this most evil of days for single people, you do have someone to love. Well, actually you have 22 people to love, your NHL-leading Nashville Predators (37-12-6), who come into tonight’s game against the New Jersey Devils (21-25-9) three points ahead of everyone else in the league for the #1 spot.

New Jersey is not feeling the love right now after losing last night to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1. Nashville however, IS feeling the love. Winners of four straight, they look to make it five in a row and strengthen their position atop the league standings and get one step closer to that elusive number one spot for the playoffs.

Whether or not you have someone special in your life at the moment, a night at Bridgestone watching the best hockey team in the NHL is a great way to spend a Saturday night. And if you do have someone special in your life, you don’t have to troll a Walgreens to find a non-Peanuts related card for your significant other. The Predators already took care of that for you.

New Jersey Devils

New Jersey hasn’t had much in the romance department this year. They currently sit second to last in the Metropolitan Division, ahead of only the even more abysmal Carolina Hurricanes. They’re going to be major sellers at the trade deadline and hoping to pick up draft picks to rebuild. One name that has been thrown around repeatedly is octogenarian Jaromir Jagr. He’s been a sweetheart for New Jersey this year, leading the team in points with 29. However, he is 42 years old (he turns 43 tomorrow) and definitely not in the plans of a team looking towards the future.

Mike Cammalleri has 18 goals on the season and is the team leader in that department, seven ahead of Jagr and Adam Henrique. No other Devil has cracked double-digit goals this season. For reference, the Predators have eight players with 10 goals or more, and two with 19.

Starting goaltender Cory Schneider started last night against Chicago, but the Devils are set to play him in net again tonight.

Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes Valentine’s Day rekindles a lost love. Well, maybe not. In any case, everyone’s (formerly) favorite enforcer Jordin Tootoo returns to Bridgestone tonight to face his former team. Don’t be surprised if you hear a few of those “Tootoo whistles” tonight. There are still some fans with a soft spot for the former Pred.

After bolting for Detroit following the 2011-2012 season, Tootoo bounced between the AHL and NHL with Detroit before landing a more permanent gig in New Jersey. He’s never seemed to be able to replicate the kind of production he had with the Predators though, posting a mere 14 points in the three seasons since his departure (he had 30 points during his last season with Nashville).

Nashville Predators

Nashville has been in love with their new-look Predators all season long, and it’s a relationship that’s really heating up. Leading the way for the Preds are the new flames. Filip Forsberg and James Neal lead the team in goals with 19 each while Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro lead the way in total points with 50 and 45, respectively. None of those three were on the regular roster last season. The 19 goals by Forsberg puts him alone in first for goals scored by a Predators rookie.

Another young love of Nashville fans is defenseman Seth Jones. He’s been having a stellar second season and this February has been great for the sophomore. He has three goals and two assists his month and was absolutely critical to the Predators killing a lengthy 5-on-3 against the Jets on Thursday night. The 20 year-old seems to have really stepped up his game lately since Ryan Ellis was sidelined with injury.

Of course, long-term relationships are an integral part of Valentine’s Day. The Predators’ longest term relationship (in terms of contract length) is Shea Weber, who leads the high scoring defensive corps with 13 goals. A different long termer, Roman Josi, leads all defensemen in the points category by one with 40 (10 goals, 30 assists). If Josi usurps Weber’s throne, it would be the first time since the ’07-’08 season that Weber doesn’t lead the defense in points. That year Weber put up 20 points playing in only 54 games. Even the Predators’ evil ex Ryan Suter never beat Weber in points after that season.

Pekka Rinne would love to get his fourth straight win tonight. Since that aberration against Anaheim back on February 5th, he’s rattled off three straight wins with a GAA of 1.67 and a save percentage of .948. He’s looking to keep that pace going on his way to winning the Vezina and possibly more.

There’s one more thing to love about tonight in Smashville, if your significant other won’t let you go to the game, you can just

dump them

watch it on TV! The TV blackout crisis of 2014 is finally over and every game from here on out is televised.

Oh yeah, and there’s this:

We’re hoping for a sad Puddy after the game

The puck drops at 7 p.m. CST and can be seen on FS-TN.