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Nashville Predators vs. Toronto Maple Leafs: Record Breaking

The Leafs roll into town Thursday night looking for some points and maybe a goal.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Toronto Maple Leafs Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators come in to tonight looking to clinch a playoff spot, while the Toronto Maple Leafs are still fighting for positioning in the much more turbulent Eastern Conference picture. Still, the Predators will have plenty to play for, needing to show they can bounce back from a bad performance on a what was admittedly the second night of a back to back.

Nashville Predators

Despite a tepid performance last time out, they’re 7-2-1 in their last ten games and have scored at least three goals in six of those wins. The top line has been doing work as usual, but the third line has been integral to a few of the recent victories. Craig Smith finally snapped his goalless drought with the only goal in the loss to Boston but he’s been picking up assists at a speedy pace.

Peter Laviolette will be coaching his 1000th NHL game Thursday night, so here’s hoping it goes as well as Pekka Rinne’s 500th game. Speaking of Rinne, he’s been stellar recently, with only the lose versus Boston dipping below .929 in the past five games. The way the coaching team has been splitting goaltending duties has really been helping them both. It’s amazing what having a backup the coach isn’t afraid to play can do!

Toronto Maple Leafs

Auston Matthews and William Nylander both possess active rookie records for the Leafs, with 35 goals for Matthews and a 12 game point streak for Nylander. I’d like to not help them make any more history. Don’t sleep on Mitch Marner either, who has 57 points on the season.

They’re much more shaky on the back end, with Morgan Rielly in over his head at the next leader of their defense corps. His most notable achievement this season has been hosting an instagram series about breakfast cereal. Frederik Andersen should get the start after getting pulled with a suspected concussion on Saturday versus Buffalo. After a rocky start he’s settled in to his role with a .918 on the season.

Reasons to Watch

  1. How will the team respond after a very good effort against the Islanders and a very poor one against the Bruins? I’d like a repeat of Saturday night if at all possible.
  2. Arvidsson and Forsberg are both sitting at 29 goals. Who gets to 30 first? Will one of them please break the 33 goal record?
  3. I get some kind of glee from Auston Matthews being an American doing all this stuff in Toronto, who tend to feel that hockey is their birthright. No biggie, just taking all your rookie records.

Sights and Sounds

Puck drop is at 7 Central on Fox Sports Tennessee or 102.5 FM. Whether you’re at the game or at home, keep your weather alerts handy.