Nashville Predators: News and Notes as Viktor Arvidsson Makes His Return

Viktor Arvidsson #33 of the Los Angeles Kings during warm up before a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center on October 05, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Viktor Arvidsson #33 of the Los Angeles Kings during warm up before a preseason game against the Arizona Coyotes at Staples Center on October 05, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Get those tissues ready and prepare for the awkward feelings as Viktor Arvidsson makes his return to Bridgestone Arena tonight, but not in the Nashville Predators uniform that he made his NHL career in.

In just the third game of the season, the Nashville Predators will face off with the Los Angeles Kings as they’re stills searching for their first win, and having to shake up their starting lineup already.

Arvidsson played in seven seasons for the Nashville Predators, and his 127 career goals is good for sixth in team history, while also being fourth in team history in game-winning goals with 25.

The Kings are a vastly improving team from last season. They’ve done it the right away by building up their prospect pool while also retaining some key veterans like Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty.

The tale of the tape

The Predators 0-2-0 on the young season, and in both losses they had a chance late to tie the score and push it to overtime against the Seattle Kraken and Carolina Hurricanes. The problem is, the Predators are having these long stretches during games where they can’t get anything going, and the opponent takes full advantage.

On the other hand, the Kings have started off the season in impressive fashion despite losing their last game to the Minnesota Wild by a 3-2 final score. Their season-opener was a butt whooping over a stacked Vegas Golden Knights team to the score of 6-2.

The Kings are no one to overlook, and could very well end up being the most improved team of the season when it’s all said and done.

Kopitar is their superstar, and he’s playing like one with seven points in the first two games. The 34-year-old veteran just surpassed the 1,000-point mark for his NHL career, putting him impressively close to being a point-per-game scorer over his career that started in 2006-2007, all with the Kings.

Doughty, their 32-year-old defenseman, is also off to a strong start with six points and is a great top line player for them.

A starting goaltender hasn’t been confirmed for either team tonight, but DailyFaceoff thinks it will be Calvin Petersen vs. Juuse Saros. In that department, obviously you give the nod to the Predators.

The Kings are really blazing right now on both the power play and the penalty kill through the first two games. They’ve yet to give up a power play goal to the opposition (5 for 5) and are 3-for-6 on their power play, including a power play goal from Arvidsson against Minnesota on Saturday.

The Predators are expected to see another young player make their NHL debut tonight as Tommy Novak, a 2015 draft pick, was called up a couple days ago and Cody Glass was sent down to the AHL:

All-time the Nashville Predators have won 37 games against the Kings for an overall record of 37-27-8 and three ties. A points percentage of just over 56 percent. The two teams haven’t played each other since January 4th, 2020, which was a 4-1 Predators win and the last win of the Peter Laviolette era.

Welcome back, Arvy

And now for the hard part; seeing Arvidsson skate onto the Bridgestone Arena ice wearing another team’s sweater. At least it’s not a hated rival, right?

Arvidsson better get a massive standing ovation from the Predators faithful, and I full expect that to be the case. He was a fan favorite for so many years, and some fans are probably still upset about the offseason decision to trade him for a couple draft picks.

In the end we know that it was time for Arvidsson to move on from the rebuilding Predators, and we wish him success against every team other than the Predators from here on out.

Arvidsson does look revitalized in a Kings uniform in the early going. He’s already got a goal and an assist, while also putting up 10 shots on goal. In Saturday’s game against Minnesota he registered over 21 minutes of ice time, so he’s becoming a vital part of the Kings lineup.

More. Lineup Shuffling Was Expected by Predators, But Not So Early. light

Keys to victory for the Nashville Predators

It comes down to minimizing self-inflicted mistakes. This Predators team just isn’t talented enough, especially in offensive efficiency, to be making unforced errors that’s leading to the opposition getting easy scoring chances.

Saros, despite his numbers on their surface not looking great, is looking in midseason form. These two losses haven’t been on him in the slightest. He’s making the tough saves, but also getting hung out to dry a few times.

On paper this is a toss-up game, but I actually give the slight edge to the Kings because they’re way better off on special teams than the Predators seem to be right now. Where the Predators can narrow the gap and win this game is through disciplined defensive play and letting Saros do the rest.

Additionally, the emotions need to be held in check. It’s understandable to sometimes take a penalty to set the tone, but not at the expense of stifling your offensive momentum. The Kings have already shown early on they’re dangerous on the power play.

The Predators desperately need a win here and avoid falling to 0-3-0. This is as important of an early season game as you can have for the team’s psyche. There’s already a lot of negativity swirling around the team from the outside, and they need some positive energy infused back in.

67. 151. . 1-1-0. . Tuesday, October 19. 0-2-0. 7 PM CT

Dropping your first three games, all at home, will be a major eyesore to start the season. This is a winnable game, but the Kings are definitely no slouches. It will take a complete 60-minute strong effort, which they’ve yet to do through the first two games.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7 P.M. CDT and will be broadcast on Bally Sports South regionally, and will also be available on ESPN+ if your outside the regional market.