Nashville Predators Look to Build Win Streak With Vegas in Town

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: The Nashville Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights watch overtime action at Bridgestone Arena on November 27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 27: The Nashville Predators and the Vegas Golden Knights watch overtime action at Bridgestone Arena on November 27, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

It’s always a fun time when the Vegas Golden Knights come to Bridgestone Arena to face the Nashville Predators. The importance of this game is amplified.

How perfect of a set up is it for the Nashville Predators that they’re taking on one of the wildcard teams tonight at home? They take on the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that’s four points ahead of them, but has played three more games.

The Predators find themselves in a pretty favorable position to move into a wildcard spot in the next week or so. That is of course if they maintain this intensity level that has helped them persevere in the last two games to get wins.

Vegas had a rough previous month, even though they did manage to get a win last night over the Carolina Hurricanes. The Predators and Golden Knights have each won once in the season series that will wrap up tonight in Nashville.

Teams with new head coaches

Both of these teams are plugging ahead towards a playoff spot with new head coaches. The Predators hired John Hynes in early January, and shortly after that Vegas shocked everyone by making a coaching change of their own to bring on board  Pete DeBoer.

More from Predlines

The Golden Knights lost six of seven games in January before ending the month on a high note last night. They’re going to probably remain one of those playoff bubble teams along with the Predators, making this game very important for both teams.

Hynes is 5-4 as head coach of the Predators so far, but it’s hard for me to count his debut loss to the Boston Bruins against him because he hadn’t even held a practice with the team yet. Either way, the Predators seem to be showing modest improvement in some areas, but still need a lot of work defensively.

I don’t think it’s sustainable for the Predators to keep winning games like they have in the last two, which were games where defense looked more optional. The Predators aren’t going to keep beating teams by having to score five-plus goals.

Projected lineups

For much of the season I’ve given Predators goaltending somewhat of a pass because the defense has been so horrendous. However, lately neither Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros have looked particularly sharp.

This needs to obviously change for the Predators to beat quality playoff contending teams like the Golden Knights are. On the flip side, the Golden Knights are much more stable in net with Marc-Andre Fleury returning to the lineup.

Fleury has pretty solid career numbers against the Predators in 17 career games. He sports a .923 save percentage, two shutouts and a 2.14 goals against average. These career numbers were much more dominant before giving up five goals to the Predators in early October.

The Predators morning skate suggests that Matt Duchene may be on the top line tonight, which is an interesting lineup development. Duchene had a goal and an assist in the last meeting with Vegas, which ended in a 4-3 overtime loss for the Predators.

I’m also very intrigued about the second line boasting Filip Forsberg, Kyle Turris and Viktor Arvidsson. That line could be deadly in its own right and produce a lot of offense.

The top two lines look very solid as Hynes is trying to mold this team into not just a playoff contender, but one that can go deep.

The question marks swirling around the defensive core will continue until Ryan Ellis is able to return from injury, and even then the Predators will still probably be a piece or two short of really being stout in this area.

Colton Sissons

is returning to the lineup after spending some time on injured reserve. He’s projected to be on the fourth line tonight with

Austin Watson


Colin Blackwell

. This line might have its issues to generate any kind of offensive pressure.

I’ve been preaching, as have many, that the Predators need to build a healthy winning streak soon. They’ve got two in a row, and the table is set for them to charge up the standings with another win tonight.

Trending. Predators GM David Poile Ascends to the Top. light

The home crowd hasn’t had a lot of good fortune to cheer about lately as the Predators have just one win at home since Christmas. Usually the Predators are extremely tough to beat in front of their home crowd, and they need to restore that tonight in a game that should feel like a playoff game.