You’ll be forgiven if you missed this past Tuesday’s game against that hated team from a certain city that starts with “C,” ends with “O,” and has “Hicag” in the middle, as there were other important televised events occurring at the same time (there was a classic episode of Criminal Minds on Ion...).
But you didn’t miss much. The Predators were extremely ho-hum, dropping the game 2-1 and ending their points streak at eight games. They weren’t especially bad, but they also weren’t especially good. And in the hyper-competitive central, where the Blackhawks are chasing down a playoff spot, the Preds do not want a repeat performance tonight (there’s your daily dose of incredibly obvious statements).
The Kings stand in 3rd place in the Pacific, with 59 points. While the Golden Knights have (seemingly) run away with that division, it is extremely tight beyond that. The Sharks have 59 points and the Ducks have 58 points, so, just like in the Central, every single point counts. They’ve won two straight, but they are 3-7 over their last ten. They’re better than that.
They are led, as they have been for the last decade, by Anze Kopitar, offensively, and Drew Doughty, defensively. Doughty is in the Norris conversation, again, after winning two years back, although his offensive output has been less than others (...ahem Subban...). Kopitar is having a stellar year - he’s top 15 in points in the league - but he isn’t backed up by a ton of scoring depth. Quick has manned the goal admirably (.921 save percentage), but Darcy Kuemper has been lights out (7-1-3, .939 save percentage). We’ll see who we get this evening.
The Nashville Predators
A legit question was answered yesterday...
Now we know why the Fisher jerseys were never removed from the @PredsProShop— Michael Gallagher (@mpatrickg5) January 31, 2018
Mike Fisher returned. He’s not playing tonight or anything, but I’ll be suprised if there isn’t a palpable excitement in the air as Predator fans storm Bridgestone Arena.
How am I supposed to write anything else when this exciting news is breaking but it has no relevance on this game against the Kings? Here goes nothing...
Preds were hot before their loss to the Blackhawks Tuesday night. An eight game point streak is nothing to shake a stick at, and, in their defense, teams are going to lose sometimes. That’s just hockey.
Expect Pekka to be back in net after Juuse Saros manned the crease against the Hawks. Pekka has been red hot (and also remains just hot in general), with only one game in January where he had a save percentage of less than .931. He’s also on a five-game winning streak.
Subban is our scoring leader, though hopefully Forsberg returns from injury and reclaims Top Dawg status in the very near future. Fiala has been a joy to watch - he really feels like he could score every time he touches the puck.
Reasons to Watch
Can this finally be the much anticipated return of The Prince? We’ve missed him, terribly. I think many were expecting his return Tuesday, so fingers crossed tonight is the night.
And we just lost to the Blackhawks. At home. You want that game to sit with you? Come on now.
Preds-Kings WWE Feud Equivalent
Hmm. I don’t hate the Kings. That’s not true for many (most) teams in the NHL that aren’t the Predators, so the fire must be pretty low. That being said, for years we’ve jockeyed with them for playoff position, and this year, in the closing stretch, that may very well be the case again, so we can’t dismiss it all together. So I think, and in honor of his appearance at Raw 25, I’ll go with the famous Boogeyman - King Booker spat of ‘06. We’re the Boogeyman, obviously (he wins).
I can dig it.
How to Watch
Crap. It’s on NBCSN again. Thank goodness I’m going to the game and don’t have to listen to their call again.
7:30 PM CT. Little bit of a switcheroo on us there.
102.5 The Game if you’re on the radio.