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Nashville Predators vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Clash of the Titans

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Lightning and the thunder.

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning will be a good test for the Predators. Led by Brayden Point in points (lol), the Lightning are 8-2-1. They sit atop the Atlantic Division.

The Lightning demolished the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday in a lopsided 8-3 game.

Nikita Kucherov has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists), along with Yanni Gourde (4 goals, 8 assists). J.T. Miller has 10 points (3 goals, 7 assists). Captain Steven Stamkos is having a bit of a slow start with 8 points on the season (2 goals, 6 assists).

Reigning Norris Trophy winner Victor Hedman has 2 goals and 2 assists in 11 games. He’s been ruled out against Nashville and was also out against New Jersey. Cameron Gaunce was recalled from the Syracuse Crunch to slot in for Hedman.

Andrei Vasilevskiy is 6-1-1 in 8 games with a .935 save percentage. Backup Louis Domingue has played in 3 games and has a .887 sv%.

Kucherov left Tuesday’s game in some pain after taking a puck to the knee. There’s no word on his status.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators sit on top of the Central Division and the League with a 9-3-0 record.

The Predators must have read Adam Vingan’s article in The Athletic about the JoFA line and a lack of secondary scoring. With two goals from Ryan Hartman and a nice booming slapper from Calle Jarnkrok, the second and third line found a way to step up against a speedy and skilled Vegas team.

Juuse Saros only allowed one goal from Vegas on Tuesday. He’s started five consecutive games and is 6-2 in the 8 games he’s played this season. He stopped 23 of 24 shots on Tuesday. Will Saros be in net tonight or will #35 occupy the crease?

Pekka Rinne has been activated from injured reserve. The team obviously took it slowly with the big guy, but a healthy Rinne will be a huge morale boost. Saros has exceed expectations in Rinne’s absence.

The Predators have points from every player except Freddy Gaudreau, Rocco Grimaldi, and Matt Irwin. It’s just a matter of time before Grimaldi finds the back of the net.

Memories and Feelings

-I predicted last season that the Stanley Cup Final would be Nashville vs. Tampa Bay. I was wrong in many ways, but this matchup is one of my favorites. Tonight’s contest is between the top two teams in the League.

-Tampa Bay is fast and talented. Their goaltending is world-class. We saw many of their young stars in some preseason contests.

-While Ryan Hartman’s grandparents can’t be at every home game, it sure was nice of them to be there for #38’s two goals on Tuesday.

-You can’t forget this brawl from 2016:

Reasons to Watch

-Andrei Vasilveskiy is a joy to watch in goal. He will win the Vezina one day…and probably sooner than later.

-More Juuse Saros, please. He is also a joy to watch in goal.

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Somebody Told Me” by the Killers.

Tonight’s Drink of Choice

With it being fall now (sorta?) in Tennessee, it seems appropriate to have a nice red wine sangria. Of course, this requires a ton of prep time. Feel free to substitute with a Berry-A-Rita. I won’t make fun of you.

How to Watch

Since I got some information wrong in this section on Tuesday, I double and triple checked everything for this preview.

Puck drop is at 6:30 Central this evening and you can watch on Fox Sports Tennessee. 102.5 The Game has the radio call.