After two tough losses, the Nashville Predators face off against former winger Patric Hornqvist and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s as if the Nashville Predators are coming so close yet so far away from winning in their last two outings.
Goals allowed off deflected skates, horrible officiating calls, challenges, and the crossbars have left the Preds and fans scratching their heads in the last 48 hours. Those are all easy changes the Preds can make come Thursday night against the Eastern Conference powerhouse Pittsburgh.
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Nashville will try and tie the season series after they lost to Pittsburgh 2-1 in Bridgestone in the very first 3-on-3 OT Nashville was involved in this season. Nashville must come into this game with a must-win mentality so they can finally clinch their illustrious playoff berth.
Pittsburgh has been one of the better perennial teams in the NHL over the past decade. That is likely due to key draft picks like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc-Andre Fleury and star acquisitions like Chris Kunitz, former Nashville Predator Patric Hornqvist, and Phil Kessel.
Pittsburgh has been on fire, almost melting the ice, going 9-1-0 in their last 10 appearances. That is an astonishing feat as they are down Evgeni Malkin, Olli Maatta and have not been able to use Pascal Dupuis as his career came to an abrupt end in November. Even though Pittsburgh has no chance to win their division due to the soaring Caps, they have kept their foot on the gas pedal all season long and should be in for an interesting 2nd round match up with Washington if all the cards land right.
Nashville and Pittsburgh always play fantastic games and this one should be fun as well, watching the Eastern and Western Conference teams duke it out. Pittsburgh will have a difficult Predators team on their hands but if history stays the same, they should be fine as they are 4-1-0 against the Preds in the last 5 match-ups.
A whirlwind of excitement and frustration has landed itself in Nashville, Tennessee. After winning five of the last six, Nashville lost two games in 48 hours. The scores do not indicate how good Nashville actually was in those games. If you take away the two deflected goals against Colorado, Nashville would have won. Even though Nashville allowed two quick goals to Dallas, they never stopped fighting which has made this year Predators team far superior to teams in the past.
Nashville comes into the game versus Pittsburgh with some much-needed rest. The Predators must regain their composure going into the Consol Energy Center Thursday night or they will return home winless in the last three games. The only big question mark for the Predators seems to be the health and condition of defenseman Ryan Ellis after he took a puck to the head Tuesday evening in Dallas.
The two losses and the Vesey situation (which we need to move on from) have come at a bad time for the Predators. Nashville is still the elite team that everyone should be afraid of and the team that very well should and could be hoisting the Stanley Cup come June. The bounces have not come Nashville’s way of late but all things should go back clicking as Nashville should hopefully come out of Pittsburgh withat least a point.
Who will be in net for the Preds? Will it be Pekka Rinne or will the Masterton Nominee Carter Hutton gain another opportunity between the pipes. Either way Nashville should and could beat Pittsburgh. Even though the Pens have been one of the hottest team in the NHL of late, Nashville can still win. Frustration needs to be put aside and the Preds just need to play hockey. There are only five games remaining in the regular season before the Predators take on what looks like the Los Angeles Kings in the first round of the playoffs. There is no reason why the wheels need to start falling off right now.
Come on Smashville, we need these two points but more importantly, we need to stay healthy and get ready because playoffs will be here soon.
The Nashville Predators return home to face the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night as they hit the final four games remaining in the season.