On Saturday night, the Nashville Predators came back home to Bridgestone Arena to welcome in the Buffalo Sabres for the second time in three games. Juuse Saros would get his first NHL start as he was called up to replace Carter Hutton in the lineup.
The Predators started out strong with an early goal from Mike Fisher (5) at 11:42 of the first period to go up 1-0. The Preds would give up four answered goals to the Sabres over the next two periods to lose by a score of 4-1.
The turning point in the contest was a cross-checking major penalty against Viktor Arvidsson that would also result in a game misconduct. This would turn the tide for the Preds. During the major, Buffalo was able to get two power-play goals and wouldn’t let down.
Tonight, the Preds will look to rebound against the Arizona Coyotes (13-9-1) at Bridgestone Arena.
In their last outing, the Coyotes defeated the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on a Mikkel Boedker hat-trick.
Keys to Watch
Current Losing Streak
To say that the Nashville Predators have been struggling recently is an understatement. Since beginning the lengthy road trip on November 20th, the Predators are 1-4-1. Over this span of games, they have allowed 19 goals and have only scored nine goals. This has got to change. Pekka Rinne should be rested and ready to go after sitting the last two contests out. The defense has got to step up and be more physical without the puck and shut down the scoring lines of the opposing team. This Arizona team has the ability to score and a strong defensive performance will be a key to success.
Mikkel Boedker was on fire against the Ottawa Senators in their last outing. He was able to score early in the first (00:38) and second (00:41) periods. The Brondby, Denmark native has the ability to put up lots of scoring chances and is their best offensive threat. Defense is a common theme in tonight’s contest. The defensive pairs, whomever is on the ice with Mikkel Boedker, must keep him in check. If not, he could put up big points tonight for the second consecutive game.
Struggling Penalty Kill
Early on this season, Nashville had a top-ten penalty kill in the NHL. After issues on the penalty kill, Nashville now ranks 23rd in this statistical category. So, what’s the problem? Every game it seems like a growing trend of not clearing the puck or allowing the other team to get lots of traffic in front of the Nashville goal. The pace of the team seems to be lacking on both sides of the puck. The penalty kill must be better. Nashville has a problem this season in taking penalties at the worst time. This problem has began to fester into a full blown dilemma for the Predators.
The Nashville Predators will establish a defensive presence and look to take down the Arizona Coyotes at Bridgestone Arena. The game will be carried on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.
Puck drops at 7:00 pm!