The Golden Knights and Nashville Predators collide in a battle between Western Conference powerhouses. That’s not something we thought we’d say this season.
No offense to Vegas, but who thought they’d be this good this soon? The most hopeful among us (Michael Wade, Greg Wyshynski) never saw this coming as they predicted they’d be Wild Card teams at best. What this Vegas team has done is nothing short of inspiring and proved that the NHL can do something correctly. Personally, I’m so happy that Vegas was given a chance to succeed rather than flounder like all other expansion teams before it. Hopefully, this will solidify the hockey market before the Raiders come to town.
Alright, enough sentimental talk. This game counts for two points and the Nashville Predators are only one point out of first in the Central Division. In fact, the Knights own the most points in the West and sit three above the Predators. This might sound a bit crazy, but the Predators would really appreciate holding the Knights to 0 points tonight if they meet in the late playoffs. It could dictate home ice advantage… That sentence felt strange to type but I guess it could actually come true.
Meet the Knights
The Knights might be the only team better than the Predators at home. Whether it’s line matching, the crowd, or the good ol’ Vegas flu, the Knights are cutting through the opposition like a hot knife through butter. They have more wins than any team in the west with a record of 26-9-2, but their home record is the real story. Vegas is 16-2-1 at the T-Mobile Arena.
To make things worse, the Golden Knights are riding a seven game win streak and show no signs of slowing down.
Who’s hot in the desert
Jonathan Marchessault continues to be the best deal in the NHL at a cool 750,000 dollars. The Corsi god has 36 points in 34 games with 29 points coming at five on five. He’s as dangerous in transition as he in the offensive zone. He’ll be a tough one for P.K. Subban and company to contain.
Wild Bill Karlsson continues to light the world on the fire with his ridiculous shooting percentage of 26.3% The Columbus cast-away has 20 goals and 33 points in 37 games. We’ll see if his hot streak continues or if he starts to hit a wall.
The big name on every fan’s mind is, of course, James Neal. The real deal has fallen back to earth after a scorching hot start. Neal has 17 goals and 27 points in 37 games and has looked dangerous. He’ll look to put a dagger or two through the Nashville Predators.
Also, beware of every goalie on Vegas. Apparently, they’re all elite despite being past their prime or super inexperienced.
The Nashville Predators’ lineup
The defense had their lines mixed and so we’re unsure of who will play where. What we can confirm is that Ryan Ellis will return and play in his first game of the season tonight. My guess is he starts on the third pair while playing third pairing minutes. That could change depending on his performance though.
Starting goalies have not been announced as of yet but Pekka Rinne will most likely get the start.
Catch the game
The game is on Fox Sports Tennesse at 9PM, Central Time. Catch the game on the radio at 102.5 the Game, starting at 8:30PM. It should be a great one.