Nashville Predators @ New York Islanders Preview: Sink or Swim
The Predators need to have a good game, especially with Pittsburgh and Chicago looming. What better way to right the ship than against another struggling team?
At 19:42 of the third period of last week's game against the Colorado Avalanche, Gabriel Borque scored an empty-net goal to clinch a 6-4 victory. That was the last time a Nashville Predator found the back of the net. After identical 5-0 losses against the Jets and the Devils, the Predators have now gone 120 minutes and 18 seconds without scoring a goal.
Tonight, Nashville looks to improve on their 2-2-1 road trip when they visit the New York Islanders for the first time since January 2012. The Isles have lost four straight, (all on the road), and are starting to see teams like Carolina and New Jersey pass them in the standings.
New York Islanders
For those of you not "with it" when it comes to your Eastern Conference news, the Islanders dealt Matt Moulson and some picks to Buffalo in exchange for Tomas Vanek. Unfortunately, Vanek was injured early in Saturday's game against Columbus, and didn't dress for Sunday's game against Montreal. He isn't likely to play tonight.
The Islanders offense is almost all coming from three players: John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, and Frans Nielsen. Combined, these players have scored about 35% of New York's total points on the year. To put it in perspective, there is an 11-point difference between Okposo/Nieslen and the next highest scorers, Grabner/Bailey. Speaking of Michael Grabner, he needs to start scoring more in order to help an offense that has been sputtering as of late. From Chris McNally at Lighthouse Hockey:
While help from guys like Casey Cizikas, Colin McDonald, Regin, Clutterbuck, and Martin would be appreciated, Grabner is the only one of them that goals are expected from. I'm sure that Grabner more than anyone knows this to be the case. Having a 12.7% career shooting percentage, I doubt that he will continue to shoot at a paltry 6.5%.
So as not to have you all throw your computers across the room, I won't mention the common problem always associated with the Preds. You know. THAT one. Instead, what sums the team up best right now? Even the Official Website of the Nashville Predators has no idea who is playing goal for them nowadays.
Poor Marek Mazenec. The good news is, that considering the personnel who'll be gaurding guarding the twine for both clubs tonight, there's a good chance of both teams snapping out of their offensive funks.
Pete and Terry have the call for you on FS-TN starting at 6:00 p.m. CST.