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Predatorial Pregame Warmup: December 10, 2013


Dec 9, 2013

Written by: Patten Fuqua


Last updated: December 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm


Nashville Predators (13-14-3) at New York Rangers (15-15-1)
Gametime: 6:30pm CT / 7:30pm ET
Television: NBC Sports
Radio: 102.5 The Game



Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne (hip), Filip Forsberg (lower body)

New York Rangers - Marc Staal (upper body - day-to-day)

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Marek Mazanec, 5-7-1, 2 SO, 0.915Sv%, 2.51 GAA


Cam Talbot, 6-2-0, 2 SO, 0.934Sv%, 1.79 GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Craig Smith – Craig Smith was surprisingly scratched from Nashville’s lineup on Saturday night and Barry Trotz’s explanation did not provide much clarity. Trotz sat Smith – the team’s second-leading scorer – in favor of “emotional” players.

On the season Smith is second behind only David Legwand with 15 points (6 G – 9 A). While Smith is in the midst of a five-game scoreless streak, the entire Predators team is having trouble producing during that stretch. Smith somehow still has seven points in the last 10 games. Trotz scratched Nashville’s second leading scorer against the NHL’s ninth ranked offense, while leaving Matt Hendricks and Rich Clune in the lineup. Hendricks and Clune have combined for one point in 43 games this season.

If anything, on Tuesday night, Smith should be out to prove that he belongs in the lineup and that – in the midst of a career season – he is not the reason for Nashville’s struggles.

New York Rangers -

Cam Talbot – Former University of Alabama-Huntsville Charger Cam Talbot has made a splash in his first NHL season.  In nine games, Talbot has only given up more than two goals once, working his way to a 6-2 record, a miniscule 1.79 GAA and picking up a couple of shutouts along the way.

Talbot has already played against the Predators once this season, stopping all 17 Nashville shots on November 23 in a 2-0 Rangers win.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Nashville is mired in a five-game losing streak that included an entire four-game home stand in which the Predators did not manage a win.

During Nashville’s losing streak, the team has only scored seven goals. In no games during that stretch have the Predators scored more than twice.

The team is currently dead-last in the Central Division and in 12th out of 14 Western Conference teams.

Nashville has trouble scoring and they cannot win. Obviously the need for a win takes priority, but Nashville needs to find a consistent manner of putting the puck to the net.


New York Rangers -

At Madison Square Garden, the Rangers have lost their last three games and six of their last seven.

Going into Tuesday night’s contest, the Rangers are struggling through a surprisingly difficult year that sees the team in third place in the Metropolitan Divison, but with barely a .500 record.

For a team generally never known to have difficulty getting on the board, the Rangers are actually scoring at a slightly lower rate than the Predators this season. In other words, despite Nashville’s measly goal-scoring output, the New York Rangers are actually worse.

Tuesday’s game will likely be decided by who gets the first goal – the Rangers are 1-13 when allowing the first goal, while the Predators are 2-13-1.

Last time out...

Cam Talbot earned his second consecutive shutout as the Rangers came into Bridgestone Arena on November 23 and defeated the Predators 2-0.

Talbot stopped 17 Predators shots while Ryan McDonagh and Derek Stepan tallied the Rangers’ goals.

Marek Mazanec saved 32 of 34 New York shots in the loss.

One interesting fact...

Nashville has not scored in the last 174:50 against the Rangers. The last time the Predators scored a goal against the Blueshirts was on November 27, 2010, when Colin Wilson scored a first period goal on Henrik Lundqvist at Bridgestone Arena.


Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua