After a disappointing start to their season against the Seattle Kraken, the Nashville Predators are back in action tonight, looking for a double redemption as they face the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time since a Game Six elimination last postseason. Emotions will likely be high.
The Nashville Predators
The team’s long-anticipated youth movement has started off about as might be expected, with the predictable growing pains of young players finding their footing in the NHL.
The all-youth line of Philip Tomasino, Eeli Tolvanen, and Cody Glass had some bright moments on Thursday, but most of the heavy lifting was done by Mikael Granlund and Filip Forsberg, with Forsberg’s linemates Ryan Johansen and Matt Duchene. As the season continues, I look forward to seeing those flashes of potential turn into something more consistent.
Juuse Saros was fine at even strength on Thursday, but continues to struggle on the penalty kill—and the penalty kill continues to struggle in front of him. With that trend ongoing, it’s absolutely essential that the Preds refrain from taking penalties tonight if they’re looking for a win. The power play looked better to start the season, with Preds players taking multiple shots, including in a brief 5-on-3 they converted on. Let’s see more of that, please.
The big story of the day is probably Connor Ingram’s recall from the Milwaukee Admirals as David Rittich was added to the COVID protocol list. Best wishes to Rittich and his family; hopefully it’s just precautionary.
The Carolina Hurricanes
The Canes have had some major roster shakeups since defeating the Preds in the Stanley Cup Playoffs last summer. They have all-new goaltending, acquiring Frederik Andersen and Antti Raanta to replace the extremely promising Alex Nedeljkovic, and lost Dougie Hamilton in free agency. Up front, they added former Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi via an offer sheet. Throughout the roster, they’ve also made the usual sorts of additions and subtractions.
One of the Hurricanes’ greatest strengths over the last several seasons has consistently been their coaching, allowing the team to execute great and effective strategy. While some of the new additions might not have entered the team looking as good on paper as the players they replaced, this is by no means an easy downgrade in opposition for the Preds.
Reasons to Watch
- Will we see the youth continue to build on their chemistry and successfully execute some of the moves they almost managed on Thursday?
- Filip Forsberg and Andrei Svechnikov playing in the same game always promises the potential of dueling lacrosse-style goals.
- It’s a Saturday night and the atmosphere in the Tire Barn is going to be amazing.
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 7 PM Central. The game will air on Bally Sports South, or you can head on down to Bridgestone Arena and check it—and the three-hour pregame festivities—out live.