Game Preview: Nashville Predators vs Seattle Kraken 3/23/23

Eeli Tolvanen is back, and he’s coming in hot.

The Nashville Predators (35-26-8) start a two-game series against the Seattle Kraken (39-24-7) tonight, and the Preds are coming off two games that couldn’t be any more different. First was the 0-7 loss to the New York Rangers this weekend, but then Tuesday night resulted in a 7-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres. Which team will show up next—the inexperienced, deer-in-the-headlights team that got steamrolled by New York, or the youth-driven, high scoring one that showed up against Buffalo?  We’ll find out tonight. Either way, Nashville’s best chance at winning—Juuse Saros—is confirmed to start in net tonight.

Players to Watch – Seattle Kraken

F Eeli Tolvanen – This is the biggest story of the night by far, and if you’re worried about a possible Tolvanen “revenge” game, unfortunately there’s a good chance of that happening. The former Predators first round draft was claimed by Seattle earlier this season after being passed on by 22 other teams, and he has quickly become a valuable, productive scorer for the Kraken. In his 36 games with Seattle, Tolvanen has scored 13 goals and 23 points—totals that surpass those from any of his previous extended stints with Nashville, despite playing in fewer games overall.

  • 2020-21 - NSH - 40 GP, 11 goals, 22 points
  • 2021-22 - NSH - 75 GP, 11 goals, 23 points
  • 2022-23 - NSH - 13 GP, 2 goals, 4 points
  • 2022-23 - SEA - 36 GP, 13 goals, 23 points/

Tolvanen’s skillset has been utilized to great effect after only a short period of time with Kraken, and the sudden explosion of offense seems to be a direct indictment of Nashville’s development and deployment of the young sharpshooter.

G Joey Daccord – Regular starter Philip Grubauer remains unavailable for the Kraken, so Daccord gets the start in the first of two games against Nashville.  Daccord hasn’t seen much action this season, only compiling a record of 2-0-0 with an 88.4% save percentage, but is 3-8-1 in 13 career starts. It’s likely that goaltending is the only matchup for the Predators that Nashville should be favored in, and it’s now up to the suddenly-hot scorers for the Preds to take advantage.

Players to Watch – Nashville Predators

F Luke Evangelista – Evangelista broke out in a big way in the victory over the Sabres on Tuesday, scoring two goals and picking up two assists to tie a franchise record for the most points by a Nashville Predator in a single period. In just 11 NHL games so far this season, the former first-round pick has scored five goals and nine points overall, and luckily for Nashville fans he seems to keep improving with every game. With roster issues and injuries ravaging the team, Evangelista is one of the biggest to benefit from the additional playing time and top-6 role.

D Cal Foote – The Tampa Bay Lightning sent Foote along with the draft pick return in the Tanner Jeannot trade, and the young defender has struggled to find his groove in gold. However, after the trade deadline, the remainder of the regular season has also become an extended audition period of the younger players, and time may be running out for Foote to prove his ability to be anything resembling a top-4 defender. Let’s hope that changes starting tonight.

How to Watch

The game airs at 7PM Central/8PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.