After a hard-fought loss in Vegas, the Nashville Predators look for a win against a struggling Arizona team. Will it be two points or will the Vegas-flu hit hard?
When the calendar turned from 2017 to 2018, the Nashville Predators were sitting atop the Central Division. After just a few days, they’ve fallen to third. Panic has now set in, dumpsters are on fire, and dreams of a Stanley Cup appearance turned to into nightmares of an expansion team celebrating when all is said and done.
Okay. Maybe not. But reality is starting to set in with many fans. Hockey is hard, and because of the point structure, any team can lead a division as time goes on. However, after a strong November and start to December, the Predators looked to be one of the best teams in the NHL.
They still are, but they are struggling. In their last ten games, the Predators are 5-4-1. Of course, only two opponent had a losing record. Tonight, they play the team with the worst record in all the NHL.
Two points or nah?
When you look at the numbers, the Nashville Predators should win tonight. Not only to the Coyotes the team with the worst record, the allow the most goals at 5v5 play. As a team, the Coyotes allow 3.56 goals per game. But the Predators struggle to score in the same situations. What will be key for Nashville is taking advantage of their offensive opportunities.
During their 3-0 loss in Vegas, the Predators proved to be assertive in getting to the puck. Especially in the second period. The same can be stated for how they played against the Minnesota Wild in Bridgestone. That same attitude must be present tonight against the Coyotes.
Pekka Rinne is 16-7-2 against Arizona for his career, but may not get the start tonight with a game versus the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
The Predators have the chance to win big tonight. To do so, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson need to set the early tone. After struggling against Vegas, rebounding with a few points produced can propel them forward. Also, look for Ryan Ellis to get his chances to notch the first goal of his season.
Can the Predators earn another shutout? Keeping Clayton Keller and Christian Fisher away from the net will be key.
Calle Jarnkrok – Ryan Johansen – Viktor Arvidsson
Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis
Where to watch
The game tonight from Arizona starts at 8:00 PM Central time and will air on Fox Sports Tennessee. It will also stream live on the Fox Sports Go App. If you are on the road, you can listen to the game on 102.5 the Game in Nashville.