On the heels of a disappointing loss to the San Jose Sharks, we know for certain the Nashville Predators top line was not to blame. Can the rest of the team step-up as the team heads’ to New Jersey for the 10th game of the 2018-2019 season?
With just eight minutes left to play in Tuesday nights’ game against the San Jose Sharks, the Nashville Predators held a 4-2 lead and seemed destined to win their sixth consecutive contest.
When the third period concluded, however, it was Nashville who was on the wrong end of the score, losing the game 5-4 after allowing three straight goals to end matters.
Now, just two days later, the Predators will be forced to travel to the east coast where they meet the New Jersey Devils for the first time this year.
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Heading into this game, the Devils hold a 15-12 lead in the all-time series against Nashville, but, luckily for the Predators, their opponents are just 5-8 on home ice against them. Additionally, each of New Jerseys’ last three wins over Nashville has come in overtime or the shootout, hinting that the Preds’ are all the more likely to gain at least one point on the night.
Unluckily for the away team, however, Pekka Rinne is still hurt.
Furthering the back luck, a lack of scoring depth beyond the teams top line so far on this season has dramatically hurt the team as well.
Beginning with the scoring situation, the Predators main offensive unit that consists of Viktor Arvidsson, Ryan Johansen, and Filip Forsberg has combined to score 14 goals so far on the year, whereas the remaining nine forwards have managed to tally just 11. Considering Craig Smith alone accounts for four of those, one has to wonder whether or not the rest of the team will eventually step up.
Continuing his attempts to spark the team, coach Peter Laviolette seems to have once again penciled into the 4th-line, whereas Rocco Grimaldi will play with the top-6 up front.
Finally, to combat the injury of Rinne, Jusse Saros will once again be between the pipes for Nashville.
In five games so far this year, Saros is 4-1-0 with a 2.37gaa and .919sv%.
Though his numbers are good so far, the man across from him, Keith Kinkaid has been even better in relief of the injured Corey Schneider for New Jersey. Kinkaid, like Saros, has already managed four wins on the season, but has a better Goals Against Average (1.85) and Save Percentage (.929) than the Finnish prospect.
Will the Nashville Predators be able to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in the 2018-2019 season when they meet the New Jersey Devils later tonight?
Tune in at 7:00/ET 6:00/CT to find out.