On Saturday night, Nashville Predators head coach Peter Laviolette was able to reach a milestone in his career. Laviolette was able to get his 400th win in his career when the Predators defeated the Winnipeg Jets 2-1.
Pekka Rinne gave up a shorthanded goal in the 2nd period to Blake Wheeler (06:57), but after this he was stellar stopping a total of 21/22 shots on net. The Preds were able to get goals from James Neal (15:45 2nd) and Craig Smith (17:58). There was a disallowed goal by Mike Ribeiro due to a high sticking penalty. Tonight, the Preds go north of the border to face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre for the 11th time in franchise history.
The Toronto Maple Leafs struggled the last time out against the Buffalo Sabres in a 6-2 loss. In the first period, the Sabres were able to get a PPG from Tyler Ennis and a SHG from Zemgus Girgensons, and basically it was all downhill from there. The Maple Leafs were able to get two in the 2nd from David Clarkson and Phil Kessel, but it wasn’t enough.
The Maple Leafs are being led in points by Phil Kessel (22). He leads the team in goals (11) and assists (11). Within the Atlantic division of the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs are in 6th place out of 8 total spots. They have summed 20 points this season, but are nine points behind Division-leading Montreal with 29 points.
Keys to watch
Stop Phil Kessel. Stop their offense.
The offense of the Maple Leafs revolves around the play of Phil Kessel. The Madison, WI native is the lightning rod for their offensive production. He is currently ranked 7th in the league with 66 shots, 4th in the league with 11 goals, tied for 3rd in points with 22, and ranked 290th in penalty minutes (6). Kessel will not make many mistakes and if you do make a mistake, he will make you pay. If you stop Kessel, the offense of the Maple Leafs becomes stagnant.
Tale of the Tape: Goalies
Wins: Pekka Rinne (11 wins) Jonathan Bernier (5 wins)
GAA: Pekka Rinne (1.92) Jonathan Bernier (2.53)
SV %: Pekka Rinne (.929) Jonathan Bernier (.920)
With these statistics, there is no doubt that the Preds have the advantage in goal. Now, Bernier is no scrub, by any means, but Rinne has been one of the best in the NHL so far this season. Look for Pekka Rinne to remain stellar in net in order for the Preds to come out of Toronto with a win.
Forsberg-NHL 3rd Star of the Week
On Monday, the NHL released their Stars of the Week. To no surprise to any Nashville Predators fan, Filip Forsberg was named as the NHL’s 3rd star of the week. This past week, Forsberg was able to get 2 goals and 3 assists and leads the team in points and plus/minus. With his current track of scoring, Preds fans might be looking at the 1st Calder Memorial Trophy winner in Nashville Predators franchise history.
The Preds look to come out of Toronto with a win tonight. The game will be on FS-TN or you can listen live for the play-by-play on 102.5 The Game. Remember to follow us on Twitter @PenaltyBoxRadio and on Facebook for all of your Preds action!