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Nashville Predators @ Ottawa Senators Preview: Making Adjustments

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The Predators face off against the Senators tonight for the second time in as many weeks.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville cooled off just a bit in a 6-2 loss to Toronto on Tuesday night. They were riding a three game win streak, and a five game point streak going into that game. Luckily for Nashville, they will get Pekka Rinne back tonight.

The Senators, on the other hand, have been playing consistently well all season. This game is definitely a tale of two different teams. It should be a good one tonight.

The Ottawa Senators

As I mentioned above, the Senators have been playing consistently well all season long so far. They sit second in their division with 21 points, and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games played. My question is, are they really this good? So far, I would have to say yes.

Not too much has changed since these two teams played last week. Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris are still leading the team in scoring, and Craig Anderson is still playing at a high level. Since last week though, Mark Stone has seemed to find his scoring touch. He has 2 goals since last playing Nashville.

As much as I think they are a good team right now, Ottawa will still need to improve in a few areas in order to continue their great play. One of those areas being secondary scoring. Yes, Stone seems to have found his scoring touch (for now), but he still only has 3 goals this year. That’s not even mentioning Bobby Ryan, who also has only 3 goals this season. Karlsson and Turris are doing an excellent job right now, but how long can they sustain carrying this team?

The Nashville Predators

The Predators seemed to quickly turn some of their critics with the five game point streak they had last week. Just as quickly as they turned them, Nashville played a horrible game, and let the doubters creep back in. This team’s inconsistent play has definitely been their downfall so far. But let’s be honest with ourselves here, that isn’t the only reason.

I think one of the reasons that contribute to the slow start from the Preds is the coaching. For some reason, Peter Laviolette’s system isn’t resonating with the team as we all hoped it would. Specifically speaking, the defense has not been great at all. They are playing well in terms of transition offense, but there is no physical presence when playing in their own end. Dare I say it, they are playing soft right now. Lavy needs to find a way to get through to these guys, and he needs to do it very quickly.

Not only has the defense been a concern, but the backup goaltender situation is also unsettling for Preds’ fans. Marek Mazanec has played horribly when filling in for Rinne. In three games played this year, Mazanec has posted an awful 5.45 GAA and even worse .809 SV%. Now don’t get me wrong, I know that the organization wants to give Juuse Saros more consistent playing time in the minors, but how do you not play him on Tuesday night against Toronto?

Regardless, the team gets Rinne back tonight. He has been on fire of late, and wouldn’t expect him to slow down tonight.

Reason To Watch

  • First of all, you have to tune in to watch Viktor Arvidsson. I know that his name is becoming a constant in this section, but it is well deserved. He is playing out of his mind, and it is a beautiful thing to watch.
  • You also have to tune in to watch James Neal. He is on fire lately and looks to add to his goal total tonight.
  • Nashville gets this guy back in net tonight!

Drink Of Choice For Game Time

I am on a beer kick this season, so I will stick with it. I’ll be taking down a 3 Floyds Zombie Dust.

Sights And Sounds

You can catch the game on FS-TN locally and listen to it on 102.5 The Game. You can also stream the game via the Fox Sports GO app. Puck drops at 6:30 pm CST.