6:00 PM CST | 102.9 FM (TV is Center Ice only)
The Nashville Predators wrap up a quick swing through the Eastern Conference tonight in Raleigh, North Carolina against the Carolina Hurricanes. The Predators rebounded well from the disaster in Toronto with a 3-0 victory over Montreal, but the key, as always, is consistency. Marcel Goc and Cal O`Reilly are leading the charge in this department quite admirably, but success requires the entire team to buy in. Lets hope for more of that tonight in Carolina.
After the jump, your lineups and analysis.
UPDATE: According to Josh Cooper and Mark Willoughby on Twitter, both David Legwand and Ryan Suter will miss tonight's game due to injury. Suter is on his way back to Nashville to be with his wife who is expecting their first child, so congratulations to the Suter family. Expect Nick Spaling and Alexander Sulzer to be inserted into the lineup.
Pekka Rinne was nothing short of spectacular against Montreal, and earned the shutout, so there's little doubt who Nashville will go with tonight.
#35 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
Nov 03, 1982
|2010 - Pekka Rinne||12||687||5||5||32||2.79||363||331||.912||2|
The lines Barry Trotz rolled against the Canadiens are as follows, and with them he had much success - two goals from the 2nd scoring line, one from the top line, and they shut out the opposition. I'd expect nothing to change initially, but keep in mind that Josh Cooper reported yesterday David Legwand is "day-to-day" with a lower body injury.
Tootoo - Legwand - Ward
Justin Peters went last night in Pittsburgh (a 5-4 shootout loss), so I assume the Canes will go with the franchise 'tender tonight.
#30 / Goalie / Carolina Hurricanes
Feb 29, 1984
|2010 - Cam Ward||16||906||9||7||45||2.98||509||464||.912||0|
The Hurricanes, while somewhat mediocre, have pretty good depth at all positions. Ian White, acquired from Calgary earlier in the week, will be playing his 2nd game as a Cane, so thats something to keep an eye on. They also claimed former Anaheim Duck Troy Bodie off waivers, and he'll be in the lineup also.
Skinner - Ruutu - Cole
- The Hurricanes' penalty kill is somehow worse than Nashville's, which is to say, terrible. They're sitting at 29th in the NHL with a 75% kill, which means a power play scores on them 1 out of every
54 chances. The Predators' power play is 27th at 11.1%, but tonight is a chance to shed the putridity and score some man advantage goals. There are problems, yes, some with the system and some with the personnel, but a team that expects to compete in the Central Division needs more than a pop-gun power play.
- Staying with the theme of offensive potency, Carolina allows a staggering 33.4 shots per game. The Preds certainly have players capable of shooting the puck at will, namely Shea Weber and Patric Hornqvist, but the item of importance here is to get good shots on net, not just ones from the perimeter. And as Crispy always says, "good things happen when you go to the net" - evidenced particularly by Cal O'Reilly's goal against Montreal.
- While players like O'Reilly and especially Marcel Goc (more on him in a minute) have stepped up in the absence of Matthew Lombardi, there have been more than a few players guilty of not carrying their share of the mail. Sure, its been Colin Wilson and Sergei Kostitsyn taking most of the blame, but they're not being put in the same situations to succeed as veterans like J.P. Dumont and Martin Erat. The Predators have always had a team-first approach, and as such, the vets will need to pick up the slack as others start falling back to earth.
- As for Goc...wow. He's tallied 4 points in 3 games, skated to a +3, saved Pekka Rinne's bacon, won a game in the shootout, held his own in the faceoff circle, and played sound defense. For my money, there hasn't been a better player on the team in 2010-11, and while that may be an indictment of Shea Weber or Patric Hornqvist, its more of an indication of just how good the German Olympian has played.
- The Hurricanes played last night in Pittsburgh, while the Predators had the day off in Raleigh. The teams should start fairly evenly matched in terms of energy, but Carolina will start to feel the previous night as the game wears on. Nashville cannot afford to let up when this happens. They let Toronto off the mat, and it came back to bite them.
- Nashville and Carolina faced off twice in the preseason. Once, in Nashville, was a 3-1 win for the Canes, while the 2nd matchup was a 2-1 Preds victory. Hopefully the Predators can break the tie in front of what should be a solid contingent of Nashville fans.