Nashville Predators vs. Ottawa Senators Preview: Both teams looking to get back on track after a disappointing first half

Jared Wickerham

Canada's team from the capital visits Music City tonight for a cross conference showdown.

The Nashville Predators play host to the Ottawa Senators tonight in the second game of Nashville's long home stand. The media narrative tonight will focus squarely on Bobby Ryan trying to show David Poile the what-for, when really it should be about Ottawa attempting to will themselves back into playoff relevance.

The Stats

Ottawa Senators Nashville Predators
Record 19-18-8 22nd 19-20-6 23rd
GF/Game 2.84 10th 2.40 25th
GA/Game 3.11 27th 2.91 20th
5-on-5 Close SF/60 33.8 2nd 29.8 14th
5-on-5 Close SA/60 35.3 30th 27.7 9th
Fenwick Close 49.50 17th 49.80 16th
5-on-5 Close Save % .920 19th .907 27th
5-on-4 GF/60 5.8 17th 6.7 10th
# of PP's/Gm 3.60 5th 3.07 27th
4-on-5 GA/60 7.3 24th 6.8 21st
# of PK's/Gm 3.93 29th 3.16 10th

The Ottawa Senators

The Senators have been a disappointment this season, especially with all they accomplished last year. There were even those that (foolishly) thought they would win their division. *Whistles and avoids eye contact from readers*

They aren't playing poorly, per se, but they also aren't playing that great. They are a middle of the pack possession team, allow the fourth most amount of goals in a game, and their special teams index is 98.7, just a shade below where you want to be. They have scored 128 goals though, which is 10th in the league. Although they are 19-8-8, good for 11th in the conference, they are just two points out of the Wild Card spot. With Toronto free falling down the standings, they have some time to make up some points.

If there is a major cause for concern, it would have to be Craig Anderson. The former potential Vezina candidate has an ugly 3.18 GAA, and a paltry .903 save percentage. Those numbers are well below his career average, and have to improve if the Sens have any hope of claiming another playoff berth. Robin Lehner, the teams backup, has much better numbers but just isn't getting the wins. Of the 19 games he's appeared in, he's started 15 and won only 5.

On the other side of the ice, their skaters are, for the most part, doing exactly what they need to do. Bobby Ryan has come as advertised, pacing the club in goals and racking up 37 points so far. Former Coyote Kyle Turris has come into his own this season and has already eclipsed his former career best in points. If he score one more goal he will tie his career mark. Clark MacArthur is also proving to be a decent pickup for them in the offseason.

Of course, Erik Karlsson is having another great season in the score column. He's currently tied for the league lead in goals by a defenseman with... hmm... who is it again...

The Nashville Predators

Oh right. Shea Weber. The Captain has 17 points in his last 16 games, and has perched himself at the top of the scoring race on the team. Sorry, David Legwand. Another Predator on a tear is Mike Fisher, but you already knew that. Fish continues his impressive tear and now has 10 points in his last seven games. Aw yiss.

Meanwhile, with Filip Forsberg being sent down to Milwaukee, (which I still say is the right call) it's possible we'll see Patric Hornqvist sooner rather than later, (but not tonight, it appears). The super Swede saw a five-game point streak come to an end against San Jose, and didn't see the ice against the Ducks on Thursday.

That game was the first time all season that the Predators had taken a lead into the first intermission and not won in regulation. More often than not, when they've scored early this season they've won game. It's not too hard to fault them when you consider how good Anaheim is this season. That being said, those four goals allowed in the second period have pushed Nashville's goals against to 46 in the middle frame, the most of the three. They have to tighten up as the game gets later if they want to secure more wins in the future.

They are really catering this one to the Canadian audience, eh? Not only is the game being broadcast solely on CBC, but it's also at 6 p.m. CST. Adjust your wristwatches (do people still have those?) accordingly and pray you have a friend or neighbor that has Center Ice or Game Center Live.

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