Cardinal rule number one while watching NHL preseason games is not to overreact or read too much into the final score, and that’s no different for the Nashville Predators despite the lopsided results to the defending Eastern Conference champion Florida Panthers.
The Predators lost the first game 5-0 in what was a wide open game with plenty of action right after the opening puck drop. Kevin Lankinen took the start in net and was tested early and often by the buzzing Panthers.
Kevin Lankinen became a trustworthy backup to Juuse Saros in 2022-23, giving the Nashville Predators one of the top duos between the pipes.
Game 2 saw the Predators really struggle to find their offensive groove, but did eventually break the scoring drought with goals from Jake Livingstone and undrafted Tye Felhaber who is at Predators training camp on a professional tryout.
Many key Predators didn’t dress for these games, including Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly. However, there were some veterans who played, with offseason additions Gustav Nyquist and Denis Gurianov registering assists.
Despite not connecting on the power play, I really liked the vision that Philip Tomasino showed on the wing. He read the play and found some opportunities in the slot. Something to build off of.
Overall Takeaways from the Doubleheader for Nashville Predators
Look, it’s preseason and it’s no secret that this team is going through a transition phase, so this result shouldn’t shock anyone. The Panthers just went to the Stanley Cup Final, while the Predators are still figuring out who they are.
The glaring issues is obviously the penalty minutes. Too much time on special teams didn’t allow the Predators to really work on their 5v5 offense like Head Coach Andrew Brunette would’ve liked. That’s got to be the biggest disappointment from the first game with 20 penalty minutes.
The second game of the doubleheader tally 30 shots on goal and show much more positive signs, despite the final score of 5-2. They did go 0-for-2 on the power play.
It was encouraging to see Yaroslav Askarov not surrender a goal in the Game 2 while making nine saves. He was eventually relieved for Troy Grosenick, who is being reunited with the Milwaukee Admirals organization after playing for them from 2018 to 2020.
Not a great day at the office for either Grosenick in Game 1 or Juuse Saros in Game 2, as the two combined to give up seven of Florida’s 10 goals for a .829 save percentage.
Just Show Steady Progress against the Lightning the Next Two Games
Now you’re looking to make progress to the next preseason game, which is on Wednesday at home against the Tampa Bay Lightning. This game will feel more like a dress rehearsal without the split squads that were featured against the Florida Panthers.
If you’re Brunette, you’re wanting to see a dry run of what we can expect from the Predators when the regular season opens on October 10. We’ll get more of an indication of what Brunette is leaning towards in terms of line combinations.
Also I’d expect to see Josi and the other leading veterans get some action against the Lightning. As much as it probably gives you hesitation to see your star players risk injury in a preseason game, they need to get the live game reps in before it really counts.
Especially Forsberg, who has been out of live game action since mid-February recovering from a head injury. And you need to see what kind of chemistry he has with O’Reilly as your potential top line.
The Predators have the day off from training camp on Tuesday, hit the ice against the Lightning on Wednesday, then will travel to Tampa Bay to play the Lightning again on Saturday.