Victories over Los Angeles and Detroit followed by an overtime loss to Boston have the Nashville Predators picking up points with regularity once again. Can they keep it rolling against Peter Horachek's Florida Panthers?
|Nashville Predators||Florida Panthers|
|5-on-5 Close SF/60||29.4||15th||29.2||16th|
|5-on-5 Close SA/60||27.6||10th||28.2||12th|
|5-on-5 Close Save %||.909||27th||.902||29th|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.17||22nd||3.37||13th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.17||10th||3.12||8th|
As Josh Cooper pointed out this morning, it turns out that David Poile's comment after firing Peter Horachek that the move might help him get a head coaching gig was on the mark after all. Horachek has gotten off to a 12-11-2 start with the Panthers, not at all bad considering how they began the season, but 10 points and five other teams stand between them and a playoff spot, so there's still a long ways to go in Florida.
What tonight will offer is another chance to watch Aleksander Barkov, the promising center taken with the second overall pick in last summer's draft. Florida's decision to take the big Finn played a major role in allowing Seth Jones to fall to Nashville at #4, and so far neither side has reason to doubt their choice. Barkov is 2nd on the Panthers in scoring and is holding his own in the possession stats, impressive work for a teenager.
Have the Predators turned a corner, given how they've played over the last week? Two victories over Los Angeles and Detroit followed by the OT loss to Boston have folks feeling good about the team these days, and no individual player is hotter these days than Mike Fisher.
|2013 - Mike Fisher||34||10||11||21||-2||34||2||0||1||86||11.6|
Three goals and five assists in those last three games have him looking like the top line center folks dreamed of when he was traded here back in 2011. As always, the question is how long he can continue at producing at anything like that scoring rate - Fish's physically aggressive style of play leads to bangs & bumps that wear him down over the course of time.
Remember that when these two teams played in Nashville back in October it was a pretty wild, entertaining game, so let's hope for more of the same tonight. The puck drops at 6:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN, so come back for the Game Thread later on!
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