These two-game sets and quick turnarounds are going to make things very fun to watch for hockey fans this season. The Nashville Predators get their first taste of that tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Predators are coming off their first heartbreak of the season to the tune of a 4-2 final score, even though the Predators got some promising scoring chances throughout the game.
Now the Predators have to quickly focus on the rematch to get back on track. They did a lot of things very well that they need to repeat, and hope for some better luck to bounce their way.
How to get revenge
The Predators honestly don’t need to change too much. A couple mistakes and bad passing burned them when Carolina scored, including the Vincent Trocheck shot that broke the 1-1 tie.
The Predators have to clean up these mistakes against an offensively stacked team like Carolina is. You can’t gift them with easy opportunities and quick breakaway attempts.
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The Predators have to do a better job tonight of making the Hurricanes earn every inch of ice they get. That means slowing down the pace of the game a bit, and not getting into this back-and-forth pace that the Hurricanes usually thrive in.
It’s not the Predators’ style of play on offense to get into track meets. They might evolve into that as the team chemistry builds, but they’re not there yet.
Slow the game down tonight and look for higher quality scoring opportunities. The Predators managed just six high-danger scoring chances in all situations last night while Carolina managed 11 high-danger chances on Rinne.
Rinne hadn’t started a game in over 10 months, so all things considered, he played a pretty solid first game back.
You can’t emphasize enough how important it is for the Predators to not squander power play opportunities against this team, or really any team. But particularly a team like Carolina that relies on quick counter attacks. They can’t do that quite as easily if they’re trailing by a couple goals and having to kill off penalties.
The Predators quickly evaporated two power plays by committing penalties of their own in the first period. You can’t let that happen again when gifted power plays.
Players to watch
Juuse Saros will be back in net for his third start of the season. Let’s see if he can rise to the challenge against a much more offensively gifted team than what he was up against in his first two starts against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Also, Saros is looking to seize control of that top spot at goaltender. He’s there for now, but if he really falls off a cliff throughout this season and costs the team games, then expect a tricky offseason when his contract expires.
Forsberg has looked determined to make this one of his most efficient seasons scoring goals in his entire career. He’s aggressive in his zone entries and looking to shoot first if the option is there.
We’re still waiting on the arrival of Mikael Granlund and how he’ll fit into the lineup. The second line has always been his perceived destination, but then where do you move Erik Haula or Luke Kunin?
This will be our first look at the approach of Head Coach John Hynes in back-to-back scenarios. Maybe he shifts Trenin into the lineup tonight to give a different look. Trenin brings a little more offensive firepower to his game than Olivier, but Olivier has been laying out the hits and definitely has earned his spot in the lineup.
Olivier mustered up another two hits in just over 10 minutes of ice time in the loss to the Hurricanes.
I like the cohesiveness of the entire lineup over the first three games, so things don’t need to really be messed with going into this game.
We’ll update you with the line projections later in the day as they’re announced. Puck drop is 7 P.M. CDT and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee and 102.5 The Game.