After blowing two leads and losing in overtime on Thursday, the Nashville Predators look to cap the homestand with a win.
The Nashville Predators haven’t had any trouble piling on the goals recently, but the most recent collapse to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night is something we all want to forget quickly. In comes the New York Rangers to help us do that.
This is an odd start time in the early afternoon between two teams that don’t play each other very often. It makes for an interesting matchup and hard to predict. The Rangers are kind of stumbling along with a 4-5-1 record, but they are coming off of an impressive win over Tampa Bay.
Last season these two teams split the two-game series, with each team winning on the road. The Predators opened last season with a road win in New York, and the Rangers came to Nashville in late December to get a 4-3 win.
Looking over the Rangers
The Rangers are led by their big offensive weapon in Artemi Panarin, who has averaged nearly a point per game in his NHL career. He’s following that trend this season with ten points in ten games. He was a big offseason acquisition for the Rangers coming over from the Blue Jackets.
This roster isn’t particularly deep or loaded with big names. Ryan Strome, Jesper Fast and Pavel Buchnevich are some of their other complementary pieces. You also have Mika Zibanejad actually leading the team in points with 11.
Defensively they’re not too stout either. They have 25-year-old Jacob Trouba on their top defensive pairing. He had a 42-point campaign last season and should keep getting better. He’s in his first season with the Rangers after playing his first six season with Winnipeg.
In net you have split duties between Henrik Lundqvist and Alexandar Georgiev. Georgiev has the much better numbers than Lundqvist in the early going of the season, but obviously Lundqvist is the better goaltender and could stone the Predators and I wouldn’t be that surprised.
Predators at full strength
The Predators are finally back to full strength now that they have Filip Forsberg back in the lineup. Now we can start getting a good look at just how potentially great this team can be. I’m excited to see Forsberg work his way back into game action and pick up where he left off, which was a blazing start scoring five goals.
This matchup screams an easy win for the Predators, but we know that doesn’t usually happen in the NHL. Just because you clearly have the better roster doesn’t mean much of anything. The Predators have to come out focused as if they’re playing the best team in the league. Playing down to the competition level can’t happen.
I’m ready to see Matt Duchene get back on a hot streak. He’s been kept pretty quiet over his last three games logging zero points. The top two lines for Nashville have been quiet aside from Calle Jarnkrok‘s two shorthanded goals on Thursday night.
Nashville’s depth has really been blossoming with players like Nick Bonino, Austin Watson, Rocco Grimaldi and Colton Sissons. Now it’s time for the top two lines to respond and get what should be a comfortable win this afternoon. Puck drop is at 1 PM CDT on Fox Sports Tennessee.