The Nashville Predators pop over for a quick roadie with the Philadelphia Flyers tonight, with visions of a new goaltender dancing in their heads. It's still unclear which of the three goaltenders is going to get the nod tonight, but Devan Dubnyk is on the trip, adding to speculation on when the new Predators will get his first start.
|Nashville Predators||Philadelphia Flyers|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.7||14th||27.0||24th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.6||9th||32.0||25th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.907||27th||.922||19th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.04||27th||3.79||2nd|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.04||5th||3.98||30th|
The Philadelphia Flyers
Thanks to a Washington Capitals regulation loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, the Flyers now find themselves 2nd in the Metro. They are tied with the Caps in points, but have, as most of the teams in the league do, more ROW than Washington. Of course, there are only five points separating 2nd place from 7th place, so expect the Flyers to play with at least a little bit of urgency tonight.
2nd place seemed almost impossible the way they started the season out, but thanks to Claude Giroux's bold prediction, they are doing what they need to do to win. A lot of credit needs to go to new coach Craig Berube as well, who took a meandering club and seems to have given it new life.
Steve Mason will be your opposing goalie tonight, so none of the three from Nashville will have to have their brass knuckles with them. Since the Preds last saw him, Mason is still playing fantastic hockey, and giving the team a chance to win every night. His .917 save percentage and 2.82 GAA are the best numbers he's had since his Calder winning season in Columbus. If he keeps up the pace, he could have a career year.
As always, make sure to head over to Broad Street Hockey, for even more fantastic coverage. (Even if it is the Flyers.)
The Nashville Predators
Joshua Cooper of the Tennessean tweeted that Dubnyk was on the ice with Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton today for practice. As of this article publishing, there is still no word on a starter. (UPDATE: Hutton appears to be the first goalie off the ice at practice.) If Dubnyk feel comfortable enough in goal, there is no reason why he shouldn't start this game. However, if the coaching staff want him to get a bit more acclimated to his team, it's perfectly rational to wait until Saturday against the Avalanche. A team he's familiar with from playing so many times in the old Northeast division.
The rest of the team should be flying high after a convincing win against the Calgary Flames on Tuesday. Sure, the Flames are a terrible team, but the Preds weren't doing much better. They'll take them any way they can get them. Really, the only thing that's been great all season is the power play, which is still humming along at 20.6%, which is 7th best on the circuit. Many have questioned Nick Spaling's presence there, but he's been looking better and better, especially on Craig Smith's goal. Sometime's there isn't a need for five snipers on the ice (not like Nashville has any.) One of the two units works just as well with someone getting so far up in the goalie's face he can smell what he had for lunch. Spaling has been doing that so far, and the results speak for themselves. If it ain't broke...
Make sure to have all of your #PredatorHard jokes ready by 6:00 p.m. CST. FS-TN is finally carrying the broadcast again.