The Nashville Predators' schedule hasn't been too difficult as of late. It seems every game we talk about a team that's either struggling, underachieving, hitting a rough patch, or all three. Tonight, the Carolina Hurricanes make their only appearance in Music City this year, and they could possibly be considered one of those three adjectives.
They are 4-5-1 in their last 10, but one their last outing against Washington on Tuesday. Of course, they are still right in the thick of the Metro race, just one point behind the New York Rangers. Make all the jokes you want about the horrid Metropolitan division, but Nashville has only been able to take two wins away from them in seven tries.
|Carolina Hurricanes||Nashville Predators|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||27.5||24th||30.4||12th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||31.3||22nd||28.8||12th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.922||18th||.923||15th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.71||4th||3.14||25th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.46||19th||3.25||10th|
The Carolina Hurricanes
The Canes started out their two-game road trip off right, with a 4-1 drubbing of the Washington Capitals. Jeff Skinner had a three point night, (2G, 1A) and now has fourteen points on the season. Goals have not been coming easily for the Hurricanes, which is a problem of which Nashville fans can relate. Only Florida, Philadelphia and Buffalo are scoring a lower rate than Carolina.
One of the guys they need to get going is Jordan Staal. With only 10 points on the campaign so far, the Thunder Bay, Ontario native is on pace to have one of the worst offensive seasons of his career. With Alex Semin out with a concussion at the moment, he needs to help chip in on the stat sheet, especially for the money he is making.
Currently, Carolina is carrying a three-headed monster in net. Now that he's back from injury, (again) Cam Ward is going to be their go-to guy, but Justin Peters has done well for his team in his absence. Peters has started one less game than Ward but won one more. Anton Khudobin, who originally took over for Ward, only played in three games at the beginning of the season before also getting injured.
For more on all things Carolina, check out our colleagues at Canes Country.
The Nashville Predators
It sure looked for a little bit that the Predators were going to hang with the Canucks on Tuesday. Then the second half of the game started. Despite their less than stellar season so far, they still have plenty of ways to burn teams, which the Predators saw last night. The good news for Vancouver is if they don't make the playoffs, they'll have plenty of time to practice for the Summer Olympics.
Shea Weber is going to be out of the lineup again tonight, but in a surprising update from Kris Martel, Kevin Klein will return. The young defense corps hasn't looked ridiculously out of place the past couple of game. However, maybe it's time to give certain players more responsibility, and see how they take to it. You never know, it could really pay off.
If there's a game to get Carter Hutton a pity start, this is it. Carolina is a bottom five team in both Corsi and Fenwick percent during five on five situations when the score is close. If not, then he may just be on the bench for an emergency basis and it will be many ages before Emperor Mazanec is dethroned. We'll see how Pekka Rinne's MRI goes later today, but even if it goes well it's going to be some time before he's game ready.
You know the drill! 7 p.m. CST start on FS-TN.
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