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Game 41: Carolina @ Nashville – Storm’s A-Brewin’


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Photo Credit:  AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

The Predators have not seen the Carolina Hurricanes since the two obligatory pre-season meetings in September. Since then, some changes have taken place in Carolina and a familiar face to the Predators organization is at the helm for the Hurricanes.

Kirk Muller, formally of the Milwaukee Admirals, is the new head coach replacing Paul Maurice on November 29. The Hurricanes were in last place in the Eastern Conference and have only risen one spot since the hiring of Muller.

The Predators got a wake-up call on Thursday night being out-played by the Dallas Stars. The Predators seemed too intent on revenge for the Fistric hit and forgot that winning the game might be suitable enough to get under Dallas’ skin.

The Predators faithful also help to establish the longest sellout streak at seven games Thursday night and have a strong chance of making it eight games tonight…limited tickets available.

This Year’s Series: N/A

Looking at the Hurricanes: The off-season was a killer for the Hurricanes losing Erik Cole, who was the perfect set-up winger for All-star centerman Eric Staal. Staal continues to lead the Hurricanes in points and Jeff Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu are providing the offensive support needed to start making headway in the Eastern Conference.

The Hurricanes got a huge win last night on a three-point effort from Staal and are looking to continue the momentum into Nashville. Cam Ward has played the majority of the games in net but his GAA and SV% are far below his normal dominance of those categories.

Looking at the Predators: A wake-up call is exactly what Nashville needed to get back on track. A healthy Colin Wilson will also help since the Predators are 0-16 on the PP since Colin Wilson was sidelined with an upper body injury.

There are a few Predators that need to start contributing offensively, namely Mike Fisher, David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist. Over the last 14 games, they have gone 14 points combined and have a combined plus/minus of -13.

For the Hurricanes to win: Cam Ward will need to start playing like he did on the magical Stanley Cup winning run if the Hurricanes are going to have any chance to break into the top eight of the Eastern Conference. Carolina needs to carry over the elation of last night’s win and use that energy to press the Predators early.

Eric Staal and Jeff Skinner can be huge thorns in the side of any NHL defense, but the ones to watch are Ruutu who leads the Hurricanes in goals and the supporting cast of Brandon Sutter and Chad LaRose, two second liners that can over match most second defensive pairings.

For the Predators to win: Forget Thursday night and let the eighth consecutive sellout crowd push you to win an important two points. Hopefully the Predators will be with the services of Colin Wilson as he was taken off the injury report Thursday night but was scratched.

Tootoo has been playing unreal hockey no matter who he has been paired with assisting on Gabriel Bourque’s first NHL goal Thursday. Craig Smith needs to continue firing the puck and in time this will pay off in him finding the twine. Be on the lookout for Trotz to mix up the lines a little tonight since the Kostitsyn/Fisher/Hornqvist project is not producing any glittering results.

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