Nashville Predators vs. New York Islanders: Looking for the Season Sweep

Also: is this the game we finally score on the power play?

The largest amount of time spent on this review was trying to find a picture for the lead art of the Predators and Islanders in which John Tavares was not present. At least I’m hoping this isn’t Tavares (they don’t give us great zoom capabilities). Tavares shipping off to the Toronto Maple Leafs means an incredibly differently abled team on the ice, one the Predators have already seen before on the road (at the Barclays [yuck]). The Predators took that one 4-3, and they now have the unique opportunity to complete a season sweep of a team before October is even halfway through. Here’s to hoping we can bring out the brooms tonight. It won’t be as glorious as the last time I shouted sweep at Bridgestone, but It’ll certainly be rewarding nonetheless.

New York Islanders

The hullabaloo surrounding Taveras’ departure from NY fails to appreciate that the Islanders and bringing back a lot of offensive talent from last season. Nine of their top ten point producers from 2017-18 returned, including the always dangerous Mathew Barzal. a point-per-game producer, and Anders Lee, who scored 40 goals last year. Both of these talented youngsters lit the lamp last week against the Predators, and if the Preds want the same result, they’ll need to find a way to keep both off the score sheet.

Just like last year, the Islanders defense and netminding are extremely suspect. That being said, they are off to a stellar start. In non-Predators games (and granted, there are only two) the Islanders have allowed only one goal. Robin Lehner, their backup goaltender, just kept the vaunted San Jose Sharks, an early favorite to meet the Preds in the Western Conference Final, off the board with a 35 save shutout. Their likely starter Thomas Greiss opened the season with 45 saves and an overtime victory against the Carolina Hurricanes. Neither has displayed anything close to elite goaltending in the NHL but it is perhaps that anonymity is leaving both extra hungry to prove themselves as NHL starters. On defense, Nick Leddy and Ryan Pulock, who have been hogging the Islanders’ defensive minutes, will have the unenviable task of trying to slow Filip Forsberg (who will undoubtedly be trigger-happy after not even registering a shot in Thursday’s game against the Wild) and the rest of the Preds.

Nashville Predators

This power play, tho. I mean. Holy cow. 0-15. Nearly the entire Wild game was spent on the power play (When Colton Sissons wasn’t grounding Jets with his fists) and the Preds had zero to show for it. They still won that game 3-0, and they looked pretty great 5 on 5, not to mention they had some stellar goaltending from reigning Vezina Trophy winner Pekka Rinne. Pretty goals were scored by Ryan Hartman and Ryan Johansen, and Roman Josi unleashed an absolute rocket that gobbled up Jets goalie Carlsbad Halliburton. Though the Predators have, overall, looked out of sorts this season (Subban in particular seems to give up the puck just as often as he makes a good hockey play), they are still sitting pretty atop the Central division at 3-1-0. In the hyper-competitive Central, every single point counts, even against weak out-of-division teams such as the New York Islanders. They’ll need to clean up the power play and the giveaways if they want to earn those points tonight.

Reasons to Watch

Some have said Saturdays are for the boys. Those boys they are talking about? Yeah, them the Preds. It’s the first weekend game in Smashville, and you know this crowd is going to be hype. Whether you’re watching at home or attending the game, it’s sure to be a rollicking good time.

Also, you may see something bizarre like Dan Hamhuis or Zac Rinaldo getting 5 on 4 minutes. What? It can’t get any worse. And it’d be damn fun to watch. Who knows what Laviolette is going to scheme up to resuscitate the lifeless corpse that is the power play.

Preds-Islanders WWE Feud Equivalent

In honor of Smackdown 1000 airing this Tuesday, and the amazing reunion that is planned for it, I’m going to go back to 2014 for this feud. Evolution, one of the most dominant wrestling stables of all-time, had reformed to take down The Shield, but they were missing their most experienced leader. While it feels criminal comparing a lightweight like John Tavares to the venerable Ric Flair, this team similarly lost a lot of its bite, and is the clear favorite to fall to the fan favorites (that’d be the Preds) tonight. In honor of the triple powerbomb, I’m predicting three goals takes the Preds to victory.

How to Watch

102.5 The Game for the radio call

FS-TN for the TV

Bridgestone Arena for in-person viewing