On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators faced off against the Ottawa Senators in a wide-open, offensive contest. If you are a fan of lots of offense, this was the matchup for you.
During the first period, the Senators came out strong with two goals within the first six minutes of play. Milan Michalek (3) scored the first goal with a power-play goal at 4:33 and Zack Smith (3) at 5:54. The Preds were able to respond when Colton Sissons, recently called up from Milwaukee, scored at 6:55. The first period would end with Ottawa tacking on one more goal when Zack Smith (4) scored his second goal of the period at 19:23. The first period would end with the Senators up 3-1.
The second period didn’t stop the scoring barrage. The Preds were able to come out and score three goals in the first nine minutes of play, a power-play goal from Shea Weber (4) at 6:23, an unassisted goal from Roman Josi (4) at 7:57, and a tipped in goal by Austin Watson at 8:51. This would give the Preds a 4-3 lead.
Ottawa would respond with two goals of their own when Erik Karlsson got his first goal of the season at 9:32 and the period would end with a Curtis Lazar (2) power-play goal at 19:08. The Nashville defense would clamp down after this.
The Preds would come out of Bridgestone Arena victorious by a score of 7-5.
Tonight, the Preds welcome in the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:00pm.
In their last time out, Toronto defeated the Dallas Stars 3-2.
Keys to Watch
Success against Toronto
In their last three meetings, Nashville has dominated the Maple Leafs. The Preds are 3-0 with two wins coming last season (11/18/14 9-2 win, 2/3/15 4-3 win). Overall, the Preds are 10-6-1 against the Maple Leafs all-time and look to continue this streak. With a newly revamped team, the Maple Leafs will look to come into Nashville and upset the Preds on home ice.
It is hard to say that there is a better defensive pair in the National Hockey League than Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Offensively, both are in the top 5 on their squad in points. Josi is tied for first with 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and Weber is in fifth with eight points (four goals, four assists). Among the NHL, Josi is tied for 8th place in points and only 5 points out of first. Coach Laviolette has pulled back their time on ice and it is showing to be a positive switch for both players and for the team.
Anyone want to play defense?
Defensively, the Nashville Predators have struggled over the last two games as they have given up nine goals over this span. After reviewing some of the goals, there are a few common denominators. First, a weak penalty kill is allowing the opponent too many opportunities with the puck and rebounds given by Pekka Rinne. Second, the opposing team is getting lots of traffic in front of the net. Nashville needs to be more physical and move the traffic out of the way. Finally, Pekka has not been sharp. In the last two matchups, Rinne has been giving up too many rebounds and St. Louis, Ottawa took advantage.
The Predators will look to settle in and stop the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00pm!