The Nashville Predators play their second game against the new-look Atlantic division when they make their first stop to see the Montreal Canadiens since November 18, 2010. This division has proven to be strong so far, with all but two of the teams currently holding a winning record. (Unless you don't count Ottawa at 3-2-2.)
Montreal has won four in a row, and have looked very good in those wins. They are getting offense from everywhere in their lineup, Of the eight players that still haven't scored this year, four are defenseman and one has been injured since opening night. (George Parros)
|Nashville Predators||Montreal Canadiens|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.3||15th||34.6||23rd|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||26.8||7th||75.0||5th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.894||24th||.947||6th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.14||26th||4.29||3rd|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.57||15th||4.43||25th|
Carey Price, who had one rough showing in the playoffs last year, is doing some great goaltending so far. His GAA is just a hair over two, and the Habs as a club are giving up only 1.86 goals a game, good for fourth in the league. In fact, the three goals Columbus scored on them on Thursday was the most they've given up since their first game of the season, a 4-3 loss to Toronto. His backup, Peter Budaj, has only started one game this season, but only allowed one goal against the Edmonton Oilers.
Reigning Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban already has 10 points in seven games so far this season, which paces the team. He's been the best player on the ice for the Canadiens, and sometimes it's hard to remember he's only 24-years-old. Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk have a point a game so far, and the former is leading goal scorer with five.
For the most part, the Predators looked good on their games during their time in the Bridge. Losing in a shootout to the Kings to end the home stand wasn't a fun way to end it, but the key was they seemed to get better every game. They test now will be to do that in a hostile environment, and the two barns they're playing in this week are the epitome of that word.
Matt Cullen finally potted his first goal of the season, which was the lone goal in Thursday night's game. He may not have started the strongest (especially to OTF readers, tough crowd) but he has certainly been noticeable on the ice the last three games, and it's nice to see him have something to show for it.
Pekka Rinne and the defense have their work cut out for them tonight, but they are going to need help from the offense. It still isn't clicking as consistently as many would like, but it looks like some of the player's sticks are starting to wake up. Nashville showed plenty of brilliant moments through the five games at home. A win tonight comes from those flashes being sustained for a full 60 minutes.
Fox Sports Tennessee has you covered on the boob tube. Remember, this one's an hour earlier at 6 p.m. CST.