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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: October 14th, 2013

pregame

Oct 15, 2013



Written by: Kristopher Martel

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Last updated: October 15, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Tonight, Nashville and the Florida Panthers drop the puck at Bridgestone Arena as the Predators look to make it two wins in a row against Eastern Conference opponents and stretch their own winning streak to two.

UPDATE: Clune most likely scratched for Nashville, Spaling possibly back in. Upshall the odd man out for Florida

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Nashville Predators (2-3-0) vs Florida Panthers (2-4-0)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: N/A, NHL Center Ice
Radio: 102.5 The Game

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Injuries

Nashville Predators - Roman Josi (concussion)

Florida Panthers - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Pekka Rinne, 2-3-0, 0 SO, 0.889Sv%, 3.13GAA

VS

Jacob Markstrom, 1-2-0, 0 SO, 0.886Sv%, 3.47GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Matt Cullen - Having his best performance of the season for the Predators on Saturday against the New York Islanders, Cullen was kept off the scoreboard but was overall one of the best performing players on the ice the entire night. Cullen, for all intents and purposes, is due. He’s had multiple opportunities over the past two games to put a puck in the back of the net and it just hasn’t worked out for him.

Sooner or later, he’s going to start producing, statistically, for Nashville. If that started tomorrow, don’t be surprised.

Florida Panthers -

Brad Boyes - The 11-year veteran was nearly a point-per-game player during the lockout-shortened season last year, but couldn’t find a job this off-season until he was given a training camp tryout for the Florida Panthers. Since then, he’s excelled, making the team and registering four goals and five points in his first six games with his new team.

Whether it be luck, skill, or just heavy determination, I’d expect that whatever is going right for Boyes will continue for the time being.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Nashville is slowly putting the pieces of the puzzle together after dropping their first two games of the season and alternating between wins and losses in their last three. Saturday, against the New York Islanders, Nashville was able to score the first goal against goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but found themselves down soon-after. Allowing back-to-back markers in the middle of the second period, the Predators had to dig deep to prevent themselves from starting the season 1-4-0. Getting a goal from Patric Hornqvist in the last minute of the second and Ryan Ellis early in the third, Nashville was able to hold off the Islanders for the remainder of regulation and move their record to 2-3-0.

Scoring by committee is still Nashville’s primary way of contribution on offense, as no player in the lineup has more than one goal (nine different goal scorers on the team), and all but eight players on the roster have at least one point on the season. Tied for three points each (one goal, two assists), Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist are tied for the team lead in scoring.

Pekka Rinne has taken all five decisions for the Predators, posting a 2-3-0 record. His stats aren’t very relative of his play in his three most recent games, as he’s went 2-1-0 since starting 0-2-0. Last Thursday’s 4-0 loss against Toronto was the first time this season he had allowed more than three goals, two of them coming during a major powerplay for the Maple Leafs.

Florida Panthers -

While the season started out on the right foot for the Florida Panthers, their four game road-trip would finish off in the worst way it could possibly end. The Panthers won their season opener 4-2 against the Dallas Stars before dropping their next three by a combined score of 16-3, including a pair of seven goal allowances to their oppositions. Florida ended their first losing streak of the season against the Pittsburgh Penguins this past Friday night, winning 6-3. However, they were shutout for the second time this season against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday by a score of 3-0.

A star rookie and two timely veterans are finding the majority of the scoring for the Florida Panthers. Second overall pick Aleksander Barkov has two goals and three assists for the Panthers, while Brad Boyes (four goals, one assist) and Tomas Fleischmann (one goal, five assists) have combined for 11 of Florida’s 34 statistical points.

Goaltending hasn’t exactly been an issue that the Panthers have nailed down yet, as 2008 draftee Jacob Markstrom and sturdy veteran Tim Thomas haven’t found their groove yet. Both goaltenders are sporting a 1-2-0 record on the early season. While Thomas didn’t travel with the team with Nashville, expect Markstrom to get the start against the Predators.

Last time out...

Grabbing his 36th victory of the season, Pekka Rinne tied Tomas Vokoun’s franchise mark for wins in a season with a 3-1 win against the Florida Panthers on March 3rd, 2012 in Sunrise, Florida.

David Legwand, Andrei Kostitsyn, and Mike Fisher all scored for Nashville while Wojtek Wolski netted the lone marker for the Panthers.

One interesting fact...

Nashville leads the season series 8-7 (with three ties early in their history), seeing the Predators win six of the last eight outings against the Panthers.

Tonight’s game against the Panthers is 15 years and five days after Nashville’s original home opener, the earliest they’ve seen Florida at home since 1998.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua