After picking up back-to-back 2-1 wins the Nashville Predators play host to the New York Islanders tonight. The Islanders have won nine of their last 11 games and are coming off a 4-2 win at Ottawa on Monday night.
This is stop two of a current four-game road trip for New York. The Predators have the next six of seven games right here in Nashville.
All that was needed from the Nashville Predators on Tuesday evening was two goals in the opening period and a stout performance from Juuse Saros against the Minnesota Wild making 32 saves. Saros has made 66 saves in the past two contests.
Nashville’s forwards had a pretty even spread of ice time against the Wild. Matt Duchene 16 minutes, Juuso Parssinen 15 minutes, Tanner Jeannot 15 minutes, & Ryan Johansen 14 minutes. However, Mikael Granlund led all forwards with 19:04 minutes of ice time.
It looks like the Predators might be finally turning a corner thanks to some key players getting hot at the right time.
Nashville Predators Head Coach John Hynes has found a balance in the last two games with his forwards and perhaps could keep this lineup together a little longer playing at home.
The New York Islanders
Since their first game against Nashville in 1998 the Islanders are 11-17-3 against the Predators.
Currently, the Islanders have a seven-game losing streak in this head-to-head out of conference series. Their last win came in 2017 coming out on top 6-2. Since then, New York has a different forward group and a budding superstar forward in Matt Barzal.
An old face that played Nashville often for nine years in Minnesota leads the Islanders in scoring against the Predators with 25 points in 35 games played.
In his second season with the Islanders Parise has eight points in 17 games.
Barzal has 18 points in 17 games this season and is still in search of his first goal of the 22-23 campaign. He’s played in eight games against the Predators tallying five points. He’ll aim for his first goal of the season and grab some top powerplay minutes when given the chance.
Statistically, Brock Nelson has been the Islander’s top performer this season scoring nine goals and nine assists. Playing in 15 games against Nashville he’s picked up 12 points. In his last five of seven games against Nashville, he’s grabbed at least one point.
On defense, it’s Noah Dobson who’s stepped up to the plate. Through 17 games he has five goals which is tied for third overall among all NHL defenders.
The first-rounder from 2018 has come on the scene and has been playing alongside Alexander Romanov the most so far this season.
Semyon Varlamov played Monday in Ottawa and could again tonight. Overall he’s 12-14-2 against Nashville with a 3.30 goals against average and a .894 save percentage. The Russian netminder is 4-2-0 this season with a 2.77 GAA and .920 SV%.
Splitting time with Varlamov is Ilya Sorokin who has played in one game against the Predators and lost in overtime to them last season 3-2. This season Sorokin is 7-4-0 with a 2.17 GAA and .932 save percentage and one shutout.
Based on minutes and production all signs point to Sorokin to make this start, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Projected lineup via Daily Faceoff
Parise – Barzal – Wahlstrom
Lee – Nelson – Beauvillier
Johnston – Pageau – Palmieri
Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck
Pelech – Pulock
Romanov – Dobson
Aho – Mayfield