Nashville Predators @ Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Gaining Momentum

The Preds look to continue their playoff push with a visit to Tampa tonight.

Nashville has started to gain some steam going into the last few games of the season, but their opponent tonight is doing the same. The Lightning have won four in a row and are right in the thick of things when it comes to the President's Trophy race. The Predators with definitely have their hands full tonight.

The Tampa Bay Lightning

The last time these two teams met was in early February with the Preds winning that one in overtime. These teams are different from the ones we saw that night though. The Preds are coming off of a slump (that we all hope is done and over with), and the Lightning are 8-2 in their last ten games.

Here are a few things you need to know about this Lightning team:

  • They score, a lot (They have 242 goals this season. That is 9 more than the next best team)
  • They also have one of the best goal differentials in the league (only behind the Rangers).
  • They have the second best scorer in the league (Steven Stamkos)

Yes, I know that these stats are obvious, but I wanted to point them out because the Preds haven't played a high powered offense like this in weeks. Tampa Bay is fast and aggressive in all aspects of their game.

When you have an offense as potent as theirs, you just pretty much need consistent goaltending to contend. That is what they are getting from Ben Bishop this season. He has a 2.31 GAA and a .916 SV%. Those numbers coupled with an offense that is scoring 3.27 goals per game is a recipe for success in this league.

The Nashville Predators

The Predators finally look like their old selves as of late. They are scoring goals and giving up very few of them. I think a majority of that has to do with that fact that they were able to get a break in the schedule. They had three straight days off last week with not traveling involved. It is rare that you see that long of a break this late in the season. But a heavy February and early March allowed the Preds to get some much needed rest last week.

Another reason for the Preds getting back on track is their ability to plug in players when injuries occur. Kevin Fiala played his first game on Tuesday night, and he played well, very well. He made some great plays and knew what to do with the puck out there. It is just a matter of time before he earns a full time spot on the roster with Nashville. Viktor Arvidsson also had a good game. In the two games he has played, he has six shots on goal. It hasn't translated to points for him yet, but you have to like seeing him take shots at the net and try to make something happen.

Reasons To Watch

  • Pekka Rinne is back to his old self and making ridiculous saves again
  • Filip Forsberg scored his first goal in a month the other night. Expect for him to do more of the same as the season comes to a close.
  • You have to of the top teams in the league going head to head. That should be reason enough.

Drink Of Choice For Game Time

With the type of quality hockey going to be played tonight (hopefully), you need a quality drink. I am going to enjoy a nice glass of Pinot Noir for this one.

Sights And Sounds

The usual suspects for TV and radio. We have an early puck drop for this one at 6:30 pm CST.