Another edition of things to think about before tonight’s tilt. What’s even better? Tonight is a home game…
- KEEPING UP WITH THE PACK - Nashville is currently riding a 3 game win streak, their first such streak of the season. With those 3 wins, they’ve been able to leapfrog teams and jump back into the Top 8 of the Western Conference (currently 6th). With a win tonight (and a St. Louis loss), Nashville would jump to 5th place behind San Jose.
- FINISHING STRONG - The Predators finished their road trip with a record of 4-2-1 after Tuesday’s shellacking of St. Louis (a 6-1 win). What was off-putting was Nashville’s play in the final 30 minutes of the game. The end of the second and the entire third period, even though Nashville outscored St. Louis 2-1 in that timeframe, saw the Predators muster only a handful of shots compared to the 7 they had in the first period. While Nashville had an utterly amazing shot quality of nearly 31.6% for the evening, it would have been more entertaining coming off of 30 shots. The Predators HAVE to keep the foot on the gas for an entire 60 minutes and not expect Rinne to bail them out when they have defensive lapses
- FINNISH-ING STRONG - Like the double usage? Well, it’s deserved. Pekka Rinne has come back to his normal self in the past 3 outings, only allowing 3 goals on 83 shots. For you stat freaks out there, that’s a .964 Sv% and a 3-0-0 record. I’m surprised there hasn’t been more publicity out there for Rinne’s work, but as Rinne goes so do the Predators. And as the Predators go, they are never really a publicized team until they get to the playoffs. With Rinne in net, Nashville has a chance to win every game they play. As long as Rinne continues his hot streak and the Predators defense continues to step up, Nashville will find themselves at the top very soon.
- OOPSY DAISY - Nashville has been listed as one of the only teams that doesn’t have a home win so far (0-0-2). While correct, the Predators played both of their first two games at home and lost both in the shootout. Nashville hasn’t played a home game since January 21st against the Blues. Currently, their road record stands at 4-2-1, can Nashville please the home fans and pull out a win to go 2-0-0 against the Kings this season?
- ALLONS, MON CAPITAINE - Predators captain Shea Weber has been pointless over the first 9 games, however it’s not the most pressing thing on his mind right now. With his base stats and corsi (those fancy stats) looking relatively good, and second on the team in shots, Weber’s making an effort to alleviate that problem. It’s a little strange that he wouldn’t even have a point after the first 9 games, especially in a 6-1 game, however I’m not worried about Weber’s production. You can’t worry about things like that, in my opinion, when you have one of the world’s best defensemen on your blue line for nearly half of a game, holding the other team’s best players off (or with low totals) the scoreboard.
- CUP HANGOVER? - Most said the Kings were going to significantly benefit from the lockout due to the usual “Stanley Cup Hangover” that teams go through the season after winning the cup. Some thought they wouldn’t be affected at all, however right about now it’s a very valid question. No player on their roster has more than 5 points on the season and the Kings as a whole are tied with Columbus at 28th in the league in goals forced (19), only 1 goal ahead of…the Nashville Predators.
- NO GOALS FOR YOU - Speaking of goals forced and goals allowed, Nashville is currently tied with Ottawa for the fewest goals given up in the league (18). That puts Nashville in the earlyu running for the William M. Jennings trophy. I know, it’s early, but being at the top of the “fewest goals allowed” list is always a special list to top.
That’s all for now, folks. Check into the Twitter Feed during tonight’s game for live, updated information throughout the game. Thoughts and reactions will follow afterwards from the coaches and players.