Game Preview: Nashville Predators @ Pittsburgh Penguins 3/30/23 - Last Call
Nashville travels to Pittsburgh to face off against the Penguins and new acquisition Mikael Granlund
Editor’s (final) note: This preview will be the last story published on the SB Nation platform. For our game thread and recap, please go to our (temporary) new site at https://on-the-forecheck.ghost.io/. Once Vox Media releases our domain name, we will be back at this same URL.
The Nashville Predators (37-28-8, 82 points), fresh off a surprising victory over the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, head to PPG Paints Arena to face the Pittsburgh Penguins (36-28-10, 82 points). While Nashville used the trade deadline to start the rebuild early, Pittsburgh made some attempts at improving the current team, yet here stand both teams, both fighting for the playoffs at 82 points in the standings. Juuse Saros was once again spectacular against the Bruins, as he continues to elevate his claim to the Vezina Trophy, getting the better of another sure-fire finalist, Linus Ullmark. Still, the season isn’t over, and despite being 1 point behind Calgary (83 points) and three behind the Winnipeg Jets (85 points) for the last wild-card spot, Nashville still has two games in hand. The Penguins got the better of the Preds earlier this season, can Nashville get revenge?
Player to Watch: Pittsburgh
F Mikael Granlund - One of the more savvy moves at the deadline, the Predators received the Penguins’ second round draft pick for a struggling Mikael Granlund. While he has posted 10 goals and 29 assists on the season, he has only has a single goal and three points in 13 games with the Penguins. A closer look at the statistics doesn’t help his case either, as Evolving-Hockey’s GAR metric puts Granlund in the bottom 10% of the entire NHL.
But, this is a revenge game, which means it’s equally as likely for Granlund to have a hat trick as it is for him to be shut out. Nobody beats current Predators quite like former Nashville Predators.
Player to Watch: Nashville Predators
F Cody Glass - Speaking of GAR (goals above replacement), you may not be surprised by the top two Predators on the list - Roman Josi and Filip Forsberg. But moving past Matt Duchene after a stellar effort against Boston to claim third place is Cody Glass.
It seems like so long ago that Glass was fighting for a roster spot, but this season has proved he absolutely belongs, and he fights to put his disappointing Vegas career behind him. Unlike Granlund, Glass is now in the top 20% of the NHL in the metric, and it’s driven mostly by his stellar defensive play (the xGA/60 bar shows his individual impact on the opponent’s shot quality).
Glass has two goals in his last two games for three points, bringing him to a total of 12 goals and 30 points in 63 games. Ironically, that’s less than Granlund, but the trajectory of the two players couldn’t be any more different.
I don’t usually make predictions or give betting advice, but I think Glass has another multi-point night tonight.
How to Watch
The game airs at 6PM Central/7PM Eastern on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.