On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators welcomed in the Carolina Hurricanes to Bridgestone Arena. Early on, the Preds looked very dominate as they jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Craig Smith (PPG-2:23) and Viktor Arvidsson (17:03) during the 1st period.
For the remainder of the game, the Preds would hang on, allowing a goal in the 3rd period by Eric Staal (18:20) with the extra attacker. Nashville almost gave it away in the end, but the Preds were able to secure the win with a final score of 2-1.
Tonight, the Preds will welcome in Connor McDavid and the the Edmonton Oilers to Bridgestone Arena at 6 pm.
The Oilers (0-1-0) faced off against the St. Louis Blues on Thursday in a losing effort 3-1.
The Oilers were able to get the 1st goal of the game by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in the 1st period. The Blues were able to shut down the offensive power of the Oilers and get goals by Vladimir Tarasenko, Robby Fabbri, and an empty net goal by Troy Brouwer.
Keys to Watch
The Hype Comes to Smashville
Over the past year, there has been nothing but praise for young Connor McDavid. He is an exceptional talent and will be a force to be reckoned with for the years to come in the Western Conference. There has been a lot of hype for this young man. He now gets the opportunity to show what he is capable of against some of the elite defensive talent of the NHL. How will he react when Shea Weber greets him with the Smashville glass? Can he handle the physical play of the Preds? Tonight will be a good test for the young phenom, but also for the Preds defensive corps and their ability to handle an offensively-talented Edmonton team.
Ryan Ellis, who was highly decorated coming out of juniors, on McDavid:
“For me, it was a slow, steady pace coming to a team that was more defensive and my game was the total opposite. As I went along and grew, I developed more and more into the player I am today. For him, I’m sure there’s going to be an adjustment period. From what I’ve heard, he’s a great player so he’s going to do really well and I wish him all the best.”
Austin Watson on the transition from juniors to pros:
“You definitely have to get used to the pace of play and size of guys. Everything happens a little quicker out there. It’s an adjustment, but obviously he’s an incredible hockey player and I don’t think it’ll take him too long.”
Craig Smith has started this season as the 1st Nashville skater to get a goal, a PPG early during the 1st period during opening night. He finished last season strong and has continued his scoring prowess. Nashville will need the Madison, Wisconsin native to continue to put pucks in the back of the net for this team. He is very important to the success, offensively, of this team. Tonight, projected lineups show Smith on the 2nd line with Colin Wilson, centered by Mike Fisher.
Rinne in Rare Form
If Thursday night was any indication of the type of season Pekka Rinne will have in 2015-16, Preds fans are in for a treat. Rinne was in mid-season form on opening night, gobbling up anything that came his way and stopping 25/26 shots on net. The one goal by Carolina was a strange angle goal from his left. Rinne starts the season with a SV % of .962. The Preds will need Rinne to be in top form as Connor McDavid comes to town.
Tonight’s Western Conference showdown will be a big test for both squads. The puck will drop 1 hour early with a 6 pm start time. Be sure to get down to the arena to support the Preds! Fox Sports-Tennessee will have all of the TV coverage or listen on 102.5 The Game as well.