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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: October 12th, 2013

pregame

Oct 12, 2013



Written by: Kristopher Martel

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Last updated: October 12, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Tonight, Nashville and the New York Islanders drop the puck at Bridgestone Arena as the Predators look to bounce back from Thursday’s 4-0 loss to Toronto…

UPDATE: Stalberg and Bourque back in. Spaling and most likely Clune to take a seat tonight

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Nashville Predators (1-3-0) vs New York Islanders (2-1-1)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: N/A
Radio: 102.5 The Game

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Injuries

Nashville Predators - N/A

New York Islanders - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Pekka Rinne, 1-3-0, 0 SO, 0.891Sv%, 3.49GAA

VS

Evgeni Nabokov, 2-0-1, 0 SO, 0.935Sv%, 1.89GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Gabriel Bourque - After being a healthy scratch for Thursday night’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Bourque should be back in the lineup tonight against the New York Islanders. While head coach Barry Trotz wanted to send a strong message to the winger, Bourque’s zero points and only two shots in three games is fairly ineffective for a player that is being touted as one that is supposed to help lead Nashville’s offense.

The Predators need all of it’s players to contribute on some level every game for them to be competitive in any sort of fashion. Right now, not enough of Nashville’s offense is making it’s way to back of the net, even though they are doing many other things right.

New York Islanders -

Michael Grabner – The 26 year old Austrian is off to a torrid pace already this season scoring seven points (two goals, five assists) in his four games, placing him in a tie for first place in the NHL in total points. While the Islanders, as a whole, have enough offensive weapons to be able to produce at a high pace every night, having a player like Grabner connect early and often this season is one of the reasons the Islanders have a 2-1-1 record so far.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Nashville is doing nearly everything right, but it’s just not equaling out to a win after the final buzzer sounds. Puck possession and putting shots on goal, two things the Predators have had plenty of problems doing in the past, have been part of Nashville’s system early this season. However, their record of 1-3-0 still looms over their heads as inter-conference play continues tonight against the Islanders and Tuesday against the Panthers.

The Predators main problem is not finding enough goal support for Pekka Rinne. While the Finnish netminder is making the necessary stops he has to make, and even some stops that a lesser goaltender would see in the back of the net, Nashville’s skaters haven’t been scoring enough to give the Predators a puncher’s chance in making many of their four games competitive for a full sixty minutes.

With only six goals forced in their four games so far this season, Nashville has the lowest amount of goals forced in the Western Conference and sits fourth in the NHL (tied with the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers with six, only ahead of the Buffalo Sabres with five goals). Averaging only a goal and a half per game isn’t going to win the Predators many games down the stretch, if that pace continues.

While the Predators may be doing everything else right, if they can’t find the back of the net (and soon) none of it will matter.

New York Islanders -

The Islanders are finding themselves in a very uncommon place for their team early in the season; battling for the top of the division. Part of the new Metropolitan Division along with Pittsburgh, Carolina, Columbus, New Jersey, the New York Rangers, Washington, and Philadelphia, the Islanders sit third in their division and only one point back of both Carolina and Pittsburgh for the division lead.

Most of this has to do with the contributions from four of the Islanders top talent: Michael Grabner (seven points), Frans Nielsen (five points), Josh Bailey (five points), and John Tavares (five points). Of the combined 34 points that Islanders skaters have registered this season, these four have 22 of those points. With veteran netminder Evgeni Nabokov registering a 2-0-1 record so far, along with a 1.89 goals against average and a .935 save percentage, the Islanders are getting the timely goaltending they need from a very trusty source.

Is this too hot of a start for an Islanders team that has had these strong beginnings to season’s past but had trouble finishing as the year wound down? In any record, the Islanders are doing almost everything right so far. Taking down the Predators tonight, after dropping their previous game to the Blackhawks, would bode well for a team only looking to get stronger.

Last time out...

On January 16th, 2012, in the midst of winning 13 games in 15 tries, the New York Islanders found themselves on the losing end to the Nashville Predators two seasons ago. Registering three goals in the first period and getting 36 saves from Pekka Rinne, Nashville knocked off the Islanders 3-1 to extend their win streak at the time to five.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Matt Halischuk, and David Legwand all scored for the Predators, while John Tavares broke Pekka Rinne’s shutout bid late in the third with the Islanders only goal.

One interesting fact...

In their last eight games against the New York Islanders, the Nashville Predators have registered a 7-0-1 record. In that span, they’ve outscore the Islanders 22-10, with three of those seven victories coming via shutout (Tomas Vokoun, 2-0 w/ 36 saves on February 13th, 2003. Pekka Rinne, 1-0 w/ 23 saves on December 20th, 2008. Anders Lindback, 3-0 w/ 27 saves on December 13th, 2010.).

Prior to tonight’s game, the earliest in a season that the Predators had faced the Islanders was October 15th.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua