The Predators opened their season on the road against the New York Rangers, earning a 3-2 victory. Goals came in the form of P.K. Subban and Filip Forsberg sniping corners of the net and a Colton Sissons empty net tally. Meanwhile, the Islanders eked out a 2-1 overtime win on the road against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Drawing on the last two years of experience, the Predators know that these early season victories play big roles later on in the season. What are they up against tonight?
The New York Islanders
No team is better off by losing John Tavares to free agency. The Islanders, who missed the playoffs last season, had to say goodbye to their former captain as he left for his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. General Manager Lou Lamiorello was hired and immediately made questionable decisions, such as acquiring Leo Komarov, who lacks the speed needed to play in the modern NHL.
However, after the Washington Capitals alienated Head Coach Barry Trotz by only offering him another contract if he won the Stanley Cup, Trotz became a free agent himself. Scooped up by the Islanders, the former Predators’ coach will look to turn this Islanders team around. If there is one thing that you can always count on with a Trotz-coached team, it’s that they will be disciplined. Expect him to put together a challenging system that the Predators could have trouble breaking down should his players buy into it.
The Nashville Predators
Coming off of a 3-2 win against the New York Rangers, the Predators are hoping to go two for two in New York City this road trip.
The right wingers for the Predators, namely Viktor Arvidsson and Kevin Fiala, seemed to be off and did not have the greatest of games. During the preseason, head coach Peter Laviolette toyed with swapping the positions of those two. Perhaps tonight against a bad Islanders team would be a convenient opportunity to try Fiala on the first line.
Meanwhile, Ryan Hartman made a surprise return from the injured reserve in Thursday’s game. Frédérick Gaudreau was the last-minute healthy scratch, allowing Zac Rinaldo to play. Gaudreau brings more to the team, but Laviolette seems to have a lot of trust in Rinaldo.
Reasons to Watch
- It’s the second game of the season! You’ve missed hockey for so long, why wouldn’t you watch?
- Craig Smith had some good chances last night. Maybe it’ll be another good year for him.
- It’s the year of Forsberg. What will he do tonight?
Sights and Sounds
The game is in New York at 6:00 CT. Fox Sports South will have the game on TV and 102.5 The Game will cover it on the radio.