The Nashville Predators are off to a great start this season. They are 2-0 and sharing the top spot in the Central Division with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Predators are firing on all cylinders after completing the sweep of the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. They opened the floodgates in the third period with four scores by four different players who added to Rocco Grimaldi’s earlier goal to complete the 5-2 win.
The two wins against the Blue Jackets featured a Predators team that appears to have learned to play better as a team. They turned up the defense in both games after struggling in this area for the past few years.
A Stiffer Challenge with Carolina Hurricanes
The Predators can’t afford to take their foot off the gas for one second. On Monday, they begin back-to-back games against a Carolina Hurricanes team looking for redemption after losing to the lowly Detroit Red Wings.
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We saw how the Predators performed against a primarily defensive team in the Blue Jackets. We will now have an opportunity to see how they do against a team with more offensive firepower.
The Hurricanes are led in scoring by Andrei Svechnikov. Svechnikov has 3 points on the season and scored his 100th career point in the losing bid against Detroit.
Also, the Hurricanes may be without captain Jordan Staal. Staal did not participate in the last game against Detroit after being placed on the COVID-19 Protocol list.
A season opener 3-0 win for the Hurricanes against the pariah of the league in the Red Wings was no surprise.
However, a 4-2 loss after to get a split against a team that only managed 17 wins last season is.
The Hurricanes are a tough team capable of putting up some big numbers. You can bet that the Hurricanes will be ready to make a statement after such a loss and test the new-look Predators that have bolstered up their defensive play.
Keep building on the hot start
We were treated to an excellent win by the Predators on Saturday. We saw this team do some things that last year’s team could not, including overcoming adversity when things weren’t going their way.
The Predators have shown some depth in their two victories, evidenced by the roster’s balanced scoring. The newcomers on the team are really helping with the depth, and could take the team farther than many expected.
However, we did see some things in the last game that need to be addressed. Defensive miscues and sloppy passing gave Columbus every opportunity to win this game.
Had Juuse Saros not boosted up the Predators with his focused performance and superb gameplay, the outcome could’ve been very different.
The Predators will need to clean up these issues because Carolina is a team that will pounce on any weaknesses that they can identify. Also, the Predators shouldn’t have to rely solely on their goaltenders to carry them.
Speaking of goaltenders, we may see the season’s first appearance of Pekka Rinne in this upcoming contest. Saros faced a barrage of shots in the last game and may be ready for a break, especially since the Carolina games are back-to-back.
Quality goaltending from both Saros and Rinne is imperative if the Predators are to have any chance of remaining towards the top of the Central Division, let alone the playoffs.
The Predators are off to a great start, and they are bringing back excitement to the fanbase. It is understood that they will hit bumps in the road, but the changes they have made are having an impact.
The Predators must take these games on at a time and use all of the tools in their arsenal against a tenacious Carolina Hurricanes team.
Staff Predictions For Game 3:
- Chad – @Chad_minton – Hurricanes 5, Nashville Predators 3
- Rich – @Rich_Howe_9 – Nashville Predators 4, Hurricanes 3
- CJ – @Squeege800 – Nashville Predators 4, Hurricanes 3
- Eli – @EliFarmer – Nashville Predators 3, Hurricanes 1
- Colin – @colinblouin – Nashville Predators 4, Hurricanes 3 (OT)
Predlines Composite: Nashville 4, Hurricanes 3