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Nashville Predators vs. Florida Panthers Preview: Without You

Without Ryan Johansen, how will this team fare against the Panthers?

NHL: Florida Panthers at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators

Thursday’s game was a disaster. There’s no other way around the fact that the Predators were squelched by a strong forecheck and they showed no zip or energy.

The power play is not even worth discussing. It’s evident the team is frustrated based on post-game interviews on Thursday evening.

Viktor Arvidsson and the “JoFA” line are one of the team’s few bright spots right now. Arvidsson brings energy every single game. The Predators remain in second place in the Central Division behind the Winnipeg Jets.

Zac Rinaldo joins Kyle Turris and Miikka Salomäki on injured reserve. Rinaldo has been a healthy scratch for the last few games, so this news is somewhat surprising.

Opinion: Pekka Rinne needs to take a seat for a few games. He does not deserve to play behind a hot-and-cold team like this. The Finnish netminder will blame himself, but it’s on the team in front of him to play like they want to get back to the Cup Final. Rinne simply cannot do it all.

Ryan Johansen was handed a 2-game suspension by the Department of Player Safety on Friday for his high-stick on Mark Scheifele on Thursday evening.

Florida Panthers

The Panthers are 18-20-8 this season. They’re struggling to get anything going in Florida. They broke a seven-game skid with a 3-1 victory against Toronto last night.

Forward Vincent Trocheck had been out with a serious ankle injury since November before returning to play last night against the Maple Leafs. He had one assist in his return.

Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers in points with 48 (12 goals, 36 assists). Aleksander Barkov has 44 points (17 goals, 27 assists), and offseason acquisition Mike Hoffman has 42 points (23 goals, 19 assists). Keith Yandle leads Florida defenders in points with 37 (6 goals, 31 assists).

Josh Brown has been recalled from the AHL Springfield Thunderbirds to replace the injured Mackenzie Weegar. Weegar was injured against the Montreal Canadiens earlier in the week.

Florida’s goalie tandem of James Reimer and Roberto Luongo is average. Luongo has a .893 Sv% in 24 games and Reimer has a .894 Sv% over 26 games.

Memories and Feelings

  • No one was happy late last season when a Nashville goal was overturned for goaltender interference in Florida. Even Carrie Underwood was angry. Here’s the video:

Reasons to Watch

  • Response.
  • We are Johansen-less for the first time all season. Who will step up?

Panthers Social Media

  • @FlaPanthers
  • @LitterBoxCats: Florida’s SB Nation Site is Litter Box Cats.

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Waiting For Love” by Avicii.

Tonight’s Drink of Choice

Altered Apricot IPA by New Heights Brewing (Nashville).

How to Watch

Tonight’s game will be on Fox Sports-TN at 7 Central. 102.5 The Game has the radio call.