The Nashville Predators currently have their longest winning streak of the young season with four-straight wins. Calgary is up next.
Despite not being at full-strength offensively thanks to the absence of Filip Forsberg, the Nashville Predators are still clicking on all cylinders on offense. It’s pretty incredible to watch.
Their next test comes against the Calgary Flames, a team the Predators took two lopsided losses to last season. They did get one win in the three-game season series. The Flames were also the No.1 seed in the West in the playoffs only to get bounced out in the first round.
Calgary is hovering right around the .500 mark and not really impressing in any particular statistical category. It should be a fairly easy opponent to handle for the Predators, but we know that doesn’t always translate to an easy win.
Who stands out for Calgary
You have to start with their superstar Johnny Gaudreau, who has 11 points through 14 games. A respectable start, but he’s not off to a blazing start either. However, he’s capable of erupting in any game and the Predators have to be aware of that. He’s their top offensive weapon, hands down.
The Flames are just an ordinary team to me. They’re not terrible at anything, but not really elite at anything, either. Their goaltending doesn’t scare me with either with David Rittich or Cam Talbot. Rittich is getting the larger share of the team’s starts, but perhaps we see a battle of backup goaltenders in this one with Talbot and Juuse Saros. Seems like a good spot for that to happen.
The Flames are middle of the pack in goals against per game at 2.93, but are near the bottom in goal scored per game at 2.5. On special teams they’re in the bottom half in power play percentage, but do have a top-three penalty kill percentage that should test the Predators’ new-look power play.
The top line for Calgary, led by Gaudreau, is more than capable of winning this game alone for the Flames. They can end up erupting in this one for two or three goals, but we know the Predators are more than likely going to get their share of goals as well having the most efficient offense in the league at four goals per game.
How the Predators lineup looks
We have the projected lineup from the Predators website, and we have a Filip Forsberg sighting! After not playing for over two weeks, we can be hopeful that Forsberg returns tonight. He was off to a great start before being taken out by a questionable hit against Vegas that I’m still not over.
If this projected lineup holds up, this is as full strength that the Predators have been since the first game. One interesting note is the fourth line features Colton Sissons at center and Kyle Turris reserved back to the wing. Some people are not happy about seeing Turris getting fourth line minutes.
No goaltender has been announced, but Saros makes sense here. Pekka Rinne is off to a blazing start, and could use some rest. We also want to see if Saros can string together back-to-back strong performances after getting his first win of the season against Tampa Bay and only giving up two goals.
I’m ready to see Matt Duchene break out of his mini funk. He’s cooled off quite a bit after opening the season with a ton of assists and putting on an offensive clinic. Hopefully we see him get more involved in the offense and tally some points.
I’m going with the Predators now that they’re getting back to full strength with Forsberg and Duchene hopefully reunited on the second line. Calgary isn’t scaring me at all on this Halloween. They were a nice story last season, but they may not even make the playoffs this year. Their roster just screams average at best to me.
The Predators are clicking everywhere you look on the roster. Even Nick Bonino is getting in on the fun, and is now leading the team in goals after his hat trick on Tuesday night. Just wait until Forsberg and Duchene return back to form.
Tonight is a great night to see the Predators closer to full strength. I don’t think they dominate the Flames like they did the Blackhawks on Tuesday night. It will be interesting into the third period, but I’m going with the Predators to win this one 4-2 and tallying an insurance goal late in the third period.