The Nashville Predators go into game four looking to take a stranglehold on the series before taking it back to Smashville.
This game is an important one for the Nashville Predators, coming off of a shaky win that required Pekka Rinne to stop 40 shots, as well as one where the power play looked god awful, as it has been all series, but the momentum is now in their favor, so they need to ride it while they still can.
One of the biggest reasons this series is tilted in Nashville’s favor right now is Rocco Grimaldi, who scored the first goal in both games two and three, the only two game she played in during this series.
Despite his 5’6 frame, Grimaldi plays with so much grit and tenacity, and that injected life into the Predators weak offensive attack last night, so if the Predators look to win tonight’s game, Rocco is going to have to keep playing his game, injecting energy into a Predators offense that desperately
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Another thing the Nashville Predators need to work on is shot suppression because you can’t win games by allowing 40+ shots every game, that’s just unsustainable.
Pekka Rinne has been amazing so far, but you can’t rely on him to single-handedly win you every game this series and a lot of this has to do with the offense drying up.
The Predators have not been spending much time at all in the offensive zone, with the offense playing with little to no tenacity and allowing the Stars to generate more because they don’t have an answer for them.
The top two forward lines have been nearly invisible over the course of the series, and that is not a winning recipe in the playoffs whatsoever.
Even though they’re coming off of a win, there still needs to be adjustments made if the Predators want to win. The offense needs to generate more and play with more energy if the Predators want to win this series.
Also, expect rookie defenseman Dante Fabbro to make an impact tonight, he’s been looking very solid on that third pair with Dan Hamhuis, and I expect him to net his first career Stanley Cup Playoff goal tonight.
He already got his first career playoff point last night, as he picked up the primary assist on Mikael Granlund‘s game-winning goal on Wednesday night.
The ultimate factor of who wins this game, however, is in net, as Pekka Rinne and Ben Bishop will be dueling it out again. So far, Rinne has had the upper hand over Bishop, making the saves he’s needed to and having outstanding performances like his 40 saves on Wednesday, but I can see Bishop rebounding.
Sure, he hasn’t looked like himself this series, as he allowed some questionable goals in games the Stars should’ve won because they’ve been so much better in the offensive zone than the Predators, but all it will take is a few good games from Bishop, and this series is very much in the Stars favor.
The Nashville Predators are going to need to capitalize on this momentum while they still can, as this is still anyone’s series.