Nashville Predators @ Carolina Hurricanes Preview: Stormriders
The Preds journey <strike>south</strike> east to the land of pines, scorin' their way into North Caroline.
The Nashville Predators take a quick break from their home dominance to visit the Carolina Hurricanes, and grab some ribs whiles they're at it. All time, the Preds are 16-9-1-1 against the Canes, which is the fourth-best winning percentage of any team they've ever faced. This also marks the third game in a row against the one of the worst teams in the league, so rosebuds need to be gathered while ye may, so to speak.
The Carolina Hurricanes
The Hurricanes are not having a very good season. No sir. They started the season with eight straight losses, meaning they didn't pick up a win in the month of October. Yee-ouch. Remarkably, the Canes rattled off four wins after that, but then fell right back into the Connor McSweepstakes. With only 17 points to their name, Carolina is doing worse than every team except Columbus and Edmonton. That's right, Carolina is worse than Buffalo.
Statistically, other than their bottom-10 goals for/against numbers, they aren't that bad. Somehow they are the 10th best team at even-strength FF%, (11th best if adjust for within one goal), allow the 9th fewest shots in the league, and boast the 8th best power play. So what gives?
Well, the duo of Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin haven't exactly been great.
Time out, though. I swear Cam Ward is like 50 years old and has been around the league forever, but he's only 30! How is that even possible?
Time in. Ward has a .907 SV% while Khudobin is just a .900, and winless in seven starts this season. Ward isn't far off his career average (.910) and his GAA is actually better than it's been in years. It just isn't a good game plan for a mediocre (yeah, I said it) goalie to be expected to make key saves when your offense is only scoring slightly more than two goals a game.
It also hasn't helped them that they started the season without
Justin Bieber Jeff Skinner, who suffered a concussion during the preseason. Skinner had been relatively slow to get back to form, but now has 11 points in 19 games. (Though he is scoreless in his last three.) Carolina has also been without the help of Jordan Staal, who was also lost in the preseason after a freak (and gruesome) collision that broke his leg. A ray of hope, though, is that Staal is finally out of his cast and set to start off ice workouts soon.
Until then, they have Eric Staal, Justin Faulk, and Edmonton castoff Riley Nash leading the way. Still no word on if Alex Semin has been found, yet.
The Nashville Predators
Nashvember ended with a four-game winning streak and Pekka Rinne and Filip Forsberg taking home some pretty arbitrary (but still awesome) honors for the month. The Predators did a great job of stocking up on points they absolutely needed to have (sorry Columbus and Edmonton) and can do the same thing tonight. (Not sorry, Carolina.)
Listen, Nashville is doing great right now, and I don't want to harsh anyone's mellow with more words about things and stuff. So instead, I present you one my favorite GIFs of all time as an offering:
Obligatory "Jeff Skinner Throwing a Tantrum" GIF
Reasons to Watch
- *Knocks on front door* Hi, do you have a moment to talk about Filip Forsberg? Praise be.
- Considering how high your blood pressure is going to get for the rest of the week's games, you should really try to enjoy and savor this one./
Sights and Sounds
Be at your posts early, as this is a 6 p.m. CST east coast start. Your normal television and radio stations have you covered.
Pre-Game Pump Up Jam
You'd think with the subhead I'd launch into some OCMS. But given our local, between the karaoke joints and the bachelorette parties that decide to stop off at your favorite bar, I think we've heard it enough. Usually, I never pass up on an opportunity to bust out The Scorpions, but I mean, c'mon. Obvious song is obvious.
Nah, you get something way more badass in honor of Carolina's monicker. Strap on your leather and grab your battle axe for Immortal meets Motorhead. Black N Roll, ladies and gentlemen.