The quest for the NHL’s best record in the month of November comes down to one thing: can the Nashville Predators best Vancouver.
A win would mean a great deal for the Nashville Predators tonight. The two points would push them ahead of the Winnipeg Jets in the standings. It also ties them for the Central Division’s top spot with St. Louis, who is idle tonight. The win also gives the Predators a historic mark. The 11-2-1 record would be the team’s best month since January the 2011-12 season. Then, the team went 11-2-0.
But, the record for the month does not really matter. Simply winning on home ice does. So far, no team has fewer losses than the Predators lone defeat at home this year. But, the Vancouver Canucks own one of the NHL’s best road records (8-5-1).
After a hard-fought game against the rival Chicago Blackhawks, the Predators need a solid performance all around to earn a big win.
What to watch
The Nashville Predators will likely give Pekka Rinne his 20th start this season tonight. Earlier, the team sent Juuse Saros back to Milwaukee and called up Anders Lindback. We have a watched Rinne play spectacular hockey all season, and expect more of the same tonight. On the season, the Predators are ninth in goals allowed, sixth at even-strength.
However, the Canucks are fourth in even-strength goals allowed, giving up only 43 so far. Goalie Jacob Markstrom boasts a .927 save percentage at even strength. It is on the penalty kill that the team struggles. Markstrom only saves 80% of shots when opponents have a man advantage. As a whole, the Canucks are 19th on the penalty kill.
Contrast that with the Predators power play, ranking third in the NHL. It is the best group at home in all of hockey. With one more goal tonight, the team will have scored on the power play in all 12 home games this season. That is a team record.
The Canucks will be highly motived, however. The team has lost three straight games, and falling quickly in the standings. But, the team received bad news earlier today. Veteran winger Derek Dorsett announced his retirement due to being healthy concerns. Dorsett had nine points to his credit this season.
The hot line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson will see significant minutes tonight, hoping to ignite the team early. Frederick Gaudreau may also see time on the ice, giving Pontus Aberg the night off. Here is the projected line-up.
Filip Forsberg – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
The game tonight starts at 7:00 PM and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee, with pregame starting at 6:30 PM. Radio broadcast is carried on 102.5 the Game. You can also stream the game on NHL.TV, Fox Sports Go app, or through 102.5 the Game’s website.