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Nashville Predators vs. Carolina Hurricanes Preview: Workin’ My Way Back to You

The Predators will try to extend the point streak before returning home.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In the last game of this road trip, the Nashville Predators (27-15-4) face the Carolina Hurricanes (21-18-5) at PNC Arena.

The Carolina Hurricanes

It’s been another rough year for Canes fans. For years, the team has been great—right up until they have to score a goal or make a save, at which point things go wrong more often than they should. Lately, though, they’ve had their best streak all season, winning six of their last seven with the only loss being to the terrifying juggernaut also known as the Tampa Bay Lightning. It happens.

They made a lot of trades over the summer, and plenty of them weren’t even with the Blackhawks. Jeff Skinner went to the Sabres in return for some futures, while Dougie Hamilton and Micheal Ferland arrived from the Flames in exchange for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.

Sebastian Aho (the Finnish one, who is a winger) leads the team in goals with 18, assists with 29, and points with 47. Teuvo Teräväinen has 10 goals and 36 points on the year, while Justin Williams is third on the team with 12 goals and 16 points. Ferland’s 13 goals are good for second on the team and his 23 points are good for fourth, while rookie Andrei Svechnikov rounds out the ten-goal scorers with 11 and his 19 total points bring him to fifth on the team. The Canes’ offense is, as I noted, not reliable.

Curtis McElhinney has been solid in net, with a sv% of .921 over seventeen games. Petr Mrázek has been considerably less solid, with a .902.

It’s very difficult to imagine that the Predators won’t get badly outshot and outchanced tonight, since that’s just what the Hurricanes do to their opponents. They have an excellent penalty kill apart from the goaltending, and generate some great 5v5 offense, but their even-strength defense is finally looking a little bit mortal. The Predators might be able to capitalize there.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators have won a few games on this road trip and gotten a few to overtime. Their most recent game was a back-to-back effort where Juuse Saros was ill and Pekka Rinne had to make his second start in 23 hours, which is never ideal. If Saros is healthy, I’d really like to see him start tonight. He did practice yesterday, which is a good sign.

Rinne has been struggling a little bit of late with everything his team has asked of him—games where nobody else shows up for the first period, turnovers, breakaways, blown coverage, the works. Saros doesn’t deserve that either, but at least if the Predators spread out the workload it’ll be easier on both goalies.

Mattias Ekholm is on fire, and Kevin Fiala has been having a very productive last few games as well. Yannick Weber practiced yesterday and might be getting closer to a return from IR. There’s been no update on Kyle Turris, whose productive season has been derailed by injuries. If and when he gets well, I think we’ve seen that the Predators might be able to put together multiple lines all of which are a threat, which will be great—but that’s not just yet.

Reasons to Watch

  • Phillip Di Giuseppe tribute video??? (Probably no.)
  • Mattias Ekholm might do a thing again.
  • Sometimes when Filip Forsberg gets snubbed for things he develops superpowers. All-Star Weekend roster, anyone?
  • It’s Sunday morning, which means everything is closed. Unless you’re in church, what else is there to do but catch some matinee hockey? (If you are in church, I strongly advise against watching or listening to the game until you leave.)

How to Watch

The game starts at 11:30 AM. You can watch on FS-TN or listen to the radio call on 102.5 The Game.