On Saturday night, the Nashville Predators were feeling a lot of “love” toward the New Jersey Devils as they welcomed a struggling Eastern Conference foe to Bridgestone Arena on Valentine’s Day night.
Going into the game, Coach Peter Laviolette decided to make some big line changes and it was intriguing to see how those changes would affect the team chemistry.
After the 1st period, it looked as though the Preds would take the game with ease as Nashville had a 20-3 lead in shots, and led 1-0 after a goal by Matt Cullen.
The Devils showed lots of grit and determination as they came back during the 2nd period and tied the game up with a goal at 17:37 with a PPG by Steve Bernier (10).
Tonight, the Preds welcome the San Jose Sharks to Nashville as they come off of a rough recent set of games including a loss against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On Sunday night, the San Jose Sharks (29-21-8) took on the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Sharks could never get from behind. San Jose gave up two goals to Steven Stamkos (1st-19:44) and Alex Kilorn (2nd-07:12) before the Sharks could respond. Logan Couture (2nd-10:27) was able to net his 21st of the season.
The Lightning started off the 3rd with a bang as Ondrej Palat scored his 12th of the season, only taking 10 seconds off the clock. Brent Burns scored a PPG at 11:38, but would not be able to respond. Tampa Bay scored two more to finalize the score at 5-2.
Keys to Watch
Back in Smashville!
It’s rare in a professional career that a player returns to the team that drafted him. On Sunday, this happened to two players, on the same day, from the same team, and to the same team. Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli were acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 1st-round pick, Olli Jokinen, and prospect Brendan Leipsic. Both players are bringing a needed element for the organization. Franson has size and an offensive presence on the blue line. Santorelli is a good two-way player with lots of speed and does well on face-offs. Troubles with work visas may hold both players out of tonight’s match-up.
Rinne named 3rd Star of the Week
Since his return from injury, Pekka Rinne has been the best goalie, quite possibly the best player, in the NHL. This past week, Rinne was 3-0 with wins against Tampa Bay, Winnipeg, and New Jersey. In those games, Rinne stopped 83 of 87 shots and has been the key to success as of recent games for Nashville. In the last 16 games, he is 14-1-1, and on the season, leads the NHL in GAA (1.97) and 2nd in the league in SV% (.931).
Erasing a Loss
On December 13th, the Predators travelled to SAP Center in San Jose to take on a team in which they had excelled against since the 2011-12 season (7-3-1). In this contest, Nashville’s potent offense was stymied and lost the match-up 2-0. Rinne was good in net, but the offense was unable to get past Antti Niemi. Niemi stopped 29 shots and shut down 3 PP attempts by Nashville. The Predators started out slow with only 11 shots through the 1st and 2nd periods. Look for Nashville to erase this previous loss and continue their best home record in the NHL of 24-3-1.
The Predators are the winners of their last five straight and seven out of eight. A struggling San Jose team, record of 1-3-1 in their last five, look to get back on the winning track. Bridgestone Arena will host Nashville’s last home game, in a week, as the Preds will go on a 3-game road trip after tonight. For those who can’t brave the snow and ice, Fox Sports Tennessee will carry the game, with pregame beginning at 6:30 pm CST. You will also be able to catch the game on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST!