The Nashville Predators return home for a five-game homestand tonight against the rival St. Louis Blues. Everything will be gold as they celebrate another Golden Saturday with a little purple thrown in as the Preds will wear pre-game jerseys for a Hockey Fights Cancer night. The purple jerseys will be auctioned off to raise money and awareness for Pediatric Cancer.
It is another important Central Division game against the Blues who are coming off a thrilling overtime win against the Blackhawks where they came back from a three-goal deficit. They also started their #RoarBacon battle cry. If you haven’t heard about that, click the link below:
The Blues are one point ahead of the third-place Preds but have a game in hand. They are getting defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk back from injury and have signed long-time NHLer Martin Havlat to alleviate some of their injury holes. In their five games last season, Vladimir Tarasenko led St. Louis with three goals and six points but the Preds won three of five.
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at three Nashville Predators that you might want to keep an eye on tonight against the Blues:
Hodson was brought in by David Poile to add to the third-line scoring but started off slow this season with no points in his first 10 games. He missed most of training camp due to injury and has played better and better as the season has gone on. This is capped by his assist and game-winning goal in the last two games. He now has a two-game point streak and that could give him the confidence to start really hitting the score sheet.
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For all the doom and gloom written about Shea Weber in the offseason because he “only” scored 45 points last season, he has started off this year with a bang. He is fourth on the team in scoring with seven points and has three goals two of which have come on the Power Play which ranks second on the team. He has a three-game point streak going.
Keep an eye on Weber because the Captain is only one goal away from scoring the 150th of his NHL career. When he accomplishes that he will be only the third active NHL defenseman with 150 goals and the 38th in NHL history to make that mark. His next point will also be his 400th, which would make him the third Predator to reach that threshold. A quick Power Play goal would wrap both of those up nicely.
Forsberg is third on the team in scoring with two goals and six assists but has very quietly had a six-game stretch where he only scored in one of those games. He hasn’t scored a goal since game four back on October 15th against the Islanders nine games ago. Is this the sophomore slump sneaking in?
Not to worry as Filip has been playing great. He is all over the ice and has developed a really nice “reverse” check where he leans into opposing players as they come after him leaving them taking the brunt of the force. He is fifth on the team in Hits. He has an amazing 57.4 Corsi Rating which measures puck possession, second on the team to Mikka Salomaki, who has only played in two games.
You may think he’s passing too much to James Neal and not shooting enough when you look at his Shots on Goal of only 27. That is nearly half of Neal’s 49 and falls behind defensemen Weber and Roman Josi. He just went through the recent road trip with 18 scoring chances which led the team. He is shooting plenty, they just aren’t finding the net or going in right now. They will.
There is a good chance that if you watch these three players tonight that one of them, or maybe even all of them will get a goal. Wouldn’t that be nice? It’s time to start off the longest homestand of the season with a big win against the Blues.