The Nashville Predators welcomed their Central Division rival, Winnipeg Jets, on Thursday night to Bridgestone Arena. The newly-created Jets roster looked to come into Nashville to take down the #1 team of the NHL, but the Preds showed consistency defeating Winnipeg 3-1.
The offensive contribution for the Predators came from Shea Weber (13), a PPG came that at 04:47 of the first period. Weber’s shot was a laser from the point to give the Preds a 1-0 lead. At 11:42 of the 1st, Michael Frolik (11) tied the game at 1-1. This would be the only goal Pekka Rinne would give up on the night.
At 03:38 of the 2nd period, Filip Forsberg (19) brought home the 2nd PPG of the evening for Nashville to give them a 2-1 lead. During the 3rd, James Neal (19) sealed the game at 16:10 with a nice hustle play.
The Preds will continue their homestand as they welcome the New Jersey Devils (21-25-9) to Nashville. This will be the first of two games between these two clubs.
On Friday night, the Devils played against the Predators arch-rival, Chicago Blackhawks. The Devils had an atrocious 3rd period. Going into the 3rd, New Jersey had a 1-0 lead, based upon a 1st period goal by Peter Harrold (2) at 15:30.
The epic meltdown started at 01:27 of the 3rd, when Marian Hossa (17) scored a PPG, and Chicago was off to the races. The Blackhawks would go on to score two more goals during the period (04:10-Jonathan Toews (16), 19:16 Kris Versteeg (10)-Empty Net).
Jaromir Jagr currently leads the Devils in points with 29. The elder-statesman for New Jersey has a total of 11 goals and 18 assists. Mike Cammalleri leads all scorers in goals with 18.
Anthony Bitetto on his time in Nashville so far:
Eric Nystrom on Jagr:
Peter Laviolette addresses different line combinations:
Keys to Watch
How Good is Filip Forsberg?
I mean, really?!? In his first season with the Preds, many observers saw him as a solid player, but this young man has exceeded ALL expectations. Now, the sole record holder of all Nashville Predators rookie records for offensive production, the sky is the limit for his potential. With 19 goals, 31 assists, and leader of points for the #1 team in the NHL, Filip Forsberg is showing his worth as an NHL All-Star.
No Help for Schneider
A goalie is only as good as the team around him. New Jersey goaltender, Cory Schneider, is not getting help around him to be successful. With a 2.29 GAA (12th) and .924 SV% (8th), Schneider is a good goalie, but the defense in front of him, as well as the offensive support is not there. He needs more help, and is not getting it, which is why this team has been struggling this season and is on a current losing streak.
Both teams in tonight’s matchup are currently battling the strains of injuries that can plague a team at this point in the season. For Nashville, the defensive corps has been hit pretty hard with Ryan Ellis, still on IR for a lower-body injury. Most recently, Mattias Ekholm has been on a day-to-day injury watch due to an upper-body injury. Others have filled in well, but it can be difficult to be without two mainstays on the back end. If Nashville makes a trade before the deadline, look for them to get some veteran help and solidify the defense.
The Nashville Predators will be looking to extend their winning streak to 5 games, and continue to separate themselves from other top-tier teams within the NHL. For the first time since last Sunday’s match-up against Florida, the game will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee, if you can’t make it out live. The game will be covered, in its entirety on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST!!!