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Nashville Predators vs. New York Islanders Preview: Points or Bust

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The Islanders are in town. Nashville needs points. Let’s go.

NHL: DEC 17 Predators at Islanders Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Isles are in town after solidly defeating the Capitals and Flyers earlier in the week. The Preds need points. Ummm...let’s go!

Nashville Predators

There’s little to write here that hasn’t been written about exhaustively. The Predators are on the fence right now, and they need all the points they can get in order to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. Coach Hynes benched his stars on Monday evening against Vancouver, so expect him to demand more from his highest-paid players.

I’d almost certainly expect Juuse Saros in net tonight. Pekka Rinne has had a rough season, but Saros has looked a bit better over his last 5-6 games. Is the transition to Saros beginning? Or has it already happened?

I never know what to expect out of this team. They’re unable to string together more than three victories in a row, and their consistency is nonexistent. Twitter and other social media are awash with pundits who’ve already called the season a failure, but we will have a better idea in the next few games how Nashville will end the 2019-2020 season.

Ryan Ellis remains on injured reserve, but he has been skating with the team regularly for about a week now. His presence could be a catalyst, but I hope the team medical staff does the right thing and ensures he comes back WHEN he’s ready, and not before.

New York Islanders

The Islanders have been hit with an injury to Casey Czikas. He’ll be out 3-4 weeks with a leg laceration.

Mat Barzal leads the Islanders in points with 48 (18 goals, 30 assists). The youngster is nearly unstoppable and brings plenty of energy to his team. Brock Nelson has 45 points (21 goals, 24 assists). Josh Bailey has 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists), but he leads the team in +/- with an ugly -12.

Ryan Pulock leads Isles defenders with 29 points (7 goals, 22 assists). Devon Toews, not related to Jonathan Toews, has been a surprise force this season, posting 22 points (5 goals, 17 assists), including a goal on Monday against the Capitals.

Thomas Greiss and Semyon Varlamov have both been solid in net for the Isles. Greiss has a .920 Sv% over 27 games, and Varlamov has a .915 Sv% over 35 games.

The Islanders are in third place in the Metropolitan Division with 72 points.

Reasons to Watch

  • Hi, Barry Trotz!
  • This might be more fun than watching it rain in Tennessee.
  • I really can’t think of any compelling reasons to watch three hours of hockey. Maybe I’m too pessimistic.

Tonight’s Theme Song

How to Watch

Tonight’s game will be on FS-TN. 102.5 The Game has the radio call. Puck drop is at 7:00 Central.