A change in philosophy seemed apparent on Thursday night. The new look Predators looked fast, aggressive, and played with high urgency. The culture change that David Poile promised seems to be on the right track. It looks like Peter Laviolette has these guys buying into the new system.
I will say this much, the third period of the first game had me on the edge of my seat. Nashville played fast and with a purpose. There is definitely a lot to look forward from a fan's perspective. It will be fun to see how they match up with a skilled Dallas team.
The Dallas Stars
Dallas dropped their first game against the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. They ended still getting a point out of the contest, but weren't able to close the game out in a shootout. After watching the highlights of the game, Dallas looked very skilled and very fast. The off season acquisitions look like they are going to pay off in a good way. It will be interesting to see how the top lines will match up against each other.
Kari Lehtonen will be the x-factor for Dallas in this game. If he can control the rebound opportunities in front of the net, they have a good chance of winning. If Nashville gets after him early in the game, it is going to be a long night for Lehtonen.
The Nashville Predators
All was right in Smashville on Thursday night. The fans have a renewed excitement that was lost last season, the team was energetic, and the coaching staff got their first victory of the season.
All the new additions looked good in their debuts. James Neal played like he was out to prove he could get it done without Malkin. He came out aggressive on he forecheck, and created opportunities not only for himself, but his line mates. Neal will look to keep that pace of play going tonight against his former team.
For me, I think Mike Ribeiro is going to be the x-factor for the Preds. He had an average game Thursday, and, I would assume, would like to have a great game against his former team as well. There is already some bad blood between these teams, so it will be fun to see how the new guys will fit into this rivalry.
Reason to Watch
Easy, Jason Spezza. This guy is probably one of the most hated guys in Nashville right now. He opted to decline a trade to Nashville because he did not see it as a good enough destination for himself. The boo birds will be out tonight when he hits the ice. I urge everyone to be a proud Nashville resident, and boo him all game, and season, long.
Wouldn't It Be Funny If...
The catfish makes its first appearance of the season tonight, and just happens to land on Jason Spezza? Yes, I realize the accuracy of the throw would have to be on point, but I'm going with the notion that anything is possible.
If you can't make it to the game tonight, catch it on FS-TN locally. Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. CST.