Florida Panthers @ Nashville Predators: Game Day Preview


7:00 PM | 102.9 FM | FS-TN (HD)

Saturday night in Smashville sees the Nashville Predators take on the Florida Panthers, a game which probably doesn't sound very exciting, but one in which Nashville will probably do their best to accelerate our heart rates. The Predators have much improved after a mediocre November, but the Panthers are coming in on the heels of a shutout of the Washington Capitals, and are riding a 3 game win streak.

So its not exactly an immovable force against an unstoppable object, but you get the idea - these are two teams trending up. After the jump, lineups and your pregame thoughts.

Lineups

Nashville

Could anyone have dare hoped that Lindback would perform this well in Rinne's absence? He's been the best player on the ice for Nashville two games running.

Anders Lindback

#39 / Goalie / Nashville Predators

6-6

205

May 03, 1988

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Anders Lindback 11 569 5 1 25 2.64 310 285 .919 0

David Legwand will miss tonight's game, while Matthew Lombardi and Pekka Rinne remain on injured reserve.

Forwards
Sullivan (A) - O'Reilly - Wilson
Dumont - Spaling - Hornqvist
Kostitsyn - Goc - Erat
Tootoo - Smithson - Ward
Defense
 Suter (A) - Weber (C)
Klein - Bouillon
Franson - O'Brien

Florida

Tomas Vokoun is, for my money, the most underrated goalie in the NHL, and perhaps the best. Nobody does more with less - he consistently puts up Vezina-like numbers on a Florida team that allows over 32 shots per game and has had in past years a very poor team defense. He deserves better than the team in front of him.

Tomas Vokoun

#29 / Goalie / Florida Panthers

6-0

195

Jul 02, 1976

GP MIN W L EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2010 - Tomas Vokoun 22 1247 11 10 51 2.45 647 596 .921 3

Much like Nashville, the Panthers get scoring from all over their lineup, but are missing some key players due to injury - Cory Stillman, Radek Dvorak, Rastislav Olesz, Christopher Higgins, and Bryan Allen.

Forwards
Reinprecht - Weiss (A) - Frolik
Bernier - Santorelli - Booth
Matthias - Reasoner - Dadonov
Hordichuk - Thomas - McArdle
Defense
 Kulikov - McCabe (C)
Ellerby - Wideman
Garrison - Weaver

Thoughts

  • Two weeks ago it was Scottie Upshall and Vernon Fiddler returning to Music City; this time its Vokoun, Darcy Hordichuk, and Mike Santorelli. Vokoun and Hordichuk contributed the most to the franchise in their time here, but perhaps the most attention is being paid to Santorelli, an under-achieving Predator who was shipped away in the offseason for a draft pick and now leads the Panthers in goals with 8. There's an inordinate amount of angst over the move, especially considering a) you can't take it back, and b) David Poile essentially had to choose between Santorelli and Cal O`Reilly. He made the right choice.
  • Jordin Tootoo, presumably, will be returned to the lineup tonight after being scratched against the Red Wings. I would bet a significant amount of money that Kenndal McArdle keeps his distance after being thoroughly demolished last season when he tracked Toots up and down the ice, begging for a go.
  • On paper, the Panthers' defense looks weak, but they're actually only allowing 2.56 goals per game, which is good for 8th in the NHL (the Predators are 6th). Nashville's even strength offense has been slowly improving, though, with 17 goals in their past 5 games. It'll be interesting to see how the Florida blueline deals with the Predators' scoring depth - they have one player with 8 goals, four with 6, three with 4, and three with 3.
  • Is it just me, or does the cry to re-assign or scratch Colin Wilson seem like so very long ago? Wilson has six goals on the year, and has scored in two straight. He's using his large frame to better effect, and it's producing results on the scoreboard. There's a reason Wilson is the most highly-regarded offensive prospect since Alexander Radulov.
  • The Predators have picked up 9 out of a possible 10 points in their past five outings, so tonight can't really be described as a "must-win". However, with Florida tonight and the Islanders on Monday, they really need to take advantage of an opportunity to pick up points against some "easier" opposition than what they'll face later in the week against Los Angeles and San Jose.
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