The Predators will return home tonight after a less than stellar road trip. Hopefully a return home means a return to winning.
It seems Nashville is having a hard time finding an aversion to streaking. Despite the team’s strengths and talent and their above average November they’ve had a really difficult time stringing together a winning streak lately.
The blow-out to the Dallas Stars was bad, losing to the worst team in the league was borderline unforgivable, but there is still time for redemption. Nothing says please forgive us like a massive division win over the St. Louis Blues.
The St. Louis Blues
St. Louis is comfortably residing in the number two spot in the west only four points behind the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blues are 16-9-4, but fortunately their road record is about as abysmal as Nashville’s at 4-8-1.
While Nashville had the upper-hand on the Blues the last time these two met at Bridgestone, the second meeting in St. Louis was in the Blues’ favor. After coming off a loss to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday night, there’s a good chance Nashville won’t be met with the familiarity of Carter Hutton as the Blues’ starting netminder tonight. Sorry Hutton, no hard feelings.
The Blues’ offense will push Nashville’s at times flighty defense. Vladimir Tarasenko is lethal. He’s already scored 14 goals and 32 points in 29 games. Followed by Jaden Schwartz who has 11 goals and 18 points in 25 games.
The Blues have faired well this season offensively but their goaltending has struggled. Jake Allen has a Sv% of .910 with a GAA of 2.39 in 23 games. Despite only playing eight games Hutton has been...well...Carter Hutton with Sv% of .888 and a GAA of 2.98. If the Predators want to end their slump and get back into a wildcard position, their offense, defense, every able bodied shooting hockey player on the ice will have to take shots that stretch Allen to his limits.
The Nashville Predators
Being a Nashville Predators fan has never been easy. There have always been ups and downs but this season was supposed to change all of that. The roster of talent Nashville possesses is overwhelming at times, but here we are, still watching them struggle with the same issues they’ve always struggled with.
The Predators have struggled to score goals, it’s always been a collective weakness at times despite the likes of James Neal, Filip Forsberg, and Ryan Johansen leading the fold. There are sparks of this is it, finally our scoring surge has arrived! Usually followed by will they ever score another goal in my lifetime?
The road trip was a reminder that the Predators still have some holes in their game, scoring, consistency, consistently scoring...it’s exhausting.
Pekka Rinne has been solid but he’s frustrated. With a Sv% of .920 and a GAA of 2.45, tired, he can’t continue to put the team on his back and bail them out when the defense gets sloppy and offense can’t seem to find the net.
Slumps happen, the wins will come again. If there is ever a time for a team to still be finding their groove it’s now, but by the start of the New Year, there can’t be anymore excuses, just hard earned wins and winning streaks.
Reasons to Watch
- Filip Forsberg - It’s time. It just has to be. I refuse to accept a reality where Forsberg has only scored two goals and Mike Ribeiro leads the team in points. I refuse.
- The Return - We could finally see the return of Ryan Ellis and Colton Sissons to the line-up. They might just be the missing pieces of the groove the Predators have been trying to find.
- Viktor Arvidsson - Someone put his face on the side of Bridgestone already.
Song of the Game
Sights And Sounds
You can watch the game on FS-TN or the Fox Sports Go app. You can also listen to it live on 102.5 The Game radio. Puck drops at 7:00pm CST.