The Nashville Predators return from their bye week and the All-Star break for a single game before being scheduled for another mini-break. We’ll see if they’re able to keep the momentum they headed into the break on, or whether another slow start plagues them and hinders their potential playoff push. At the moment, they’re hovering at around even odds to make or miss the playoffs, with the trade deadline still several weeks away.
The Knights are still missing Mark Stone, as well as goalie Robin Lehner, but they’ve still gotten some contributions from other players in the meantime. Logan Thompson and Adin Hill have turned in solid performances in net, posting above-average .913 and .907 sv%s respectively. They’ve been helped out by a very good defense, limiting chances both at even strength and on the power play.
Offensively, things have been a little more lackluster for the Knights. Stone, who’s missed eight games since getting back surgery and can’t have been playing at 100% before that, is still second on the team in goals and points. Still, the Knights have had other contributors: Jack Eichel, despite missing 13 games himself, has been scoring and helping his teammates score a lot since his return. Chandler Stevenson leads the team in assists with 33 and points with 44, while Reilly Smith is the goals leader with 18.
Stone’s absence also doesn’t mean opponents will have things all their own way with regards to the flow of play. Eichel, William Karlsson, and Jonathan Marchesseault have all been important play-drivers for the Knights, keeping the puck moving where they want it and not where their opponents do.
However, injuries have definitely taken a toll on the Knights, who enter tonight’s game having lost eight of their last ten. If the Preds can take advantage of a weakened opponent, that has the potential to shape their season going forward—as does a loss.