On Tuesday night, the Predators capped off a lengthy home stand as they played against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena. This would be the third and final time the two teams would face off against one another in the regular season.
The first period was extremely physical among both teams. In one instance, a spirited exchange between Mike Fisher and Kevin Bieksa caused a tooth to project from the mouth of the Ducks forward.
The scoring began when Shea Weber took advantage of a Preds power-play and blasted a shot from the point to give the Preds a 1-0 lead at 9:33.
At 10:47, the Ducks received an excellent individual effort by Rickard Rakell (3) as he completed a wrap-around on Pekka Rinne to tie the game at 1-1.
One of the strangest goals you will find happened at 13:13 of the first period as James Neal floated the puck from behind the blue line to sneak past Frederik Andersen.
The second and third period would be an exchange of goals from both teams as the Preds scored in the second when Miikka Salomaki netted his first of the season at 6:13. The Ducks would respond in the third as former two-time Nashville forward, Mike Santorelli, scored at 5:33 of the third to give the Preds a 3-2 advantage.
Nashville would hang on to defeat Anaheim and take the season series 2-1.
Tonight, Nashville begins 5-game road trip as they travel to Columbus to go against the Blue Jackets.
Last night, Columbus was defeated by the Ottawa Senators 3-0.
Keys to Watch
Penalty Box Blues
In the last two games, the Nashville Predators have been to the box more than I can remember in recent history. Whether for fighting, roughing, or tripping, the Predators can’t seem to stay out of the “sin bin”. Nashville is currently ranked 10th in the NHL with 214 penalty minutes on the season. They average 12:35 penalty minutes per game which ranks them 4th in the NHL. The Preds have got to stay out of the penalty box. This could come back to haunt them at some point over this marathon season.
Struggles in Net
The Columbus Blue Jackets are struggling this year in net. They have allowed 66 goals which ranks them 29th in the NHL, along with the goals against per game of 3.30. Whether it is Sergei Bobrovsky or Curtis McElhinney, the team has struggled in net. If Nashville can get overloads of shots and score early, look for it to be a successful night for the boys from Nashville.
Roman Josi: Elite?
When opposing squads prepare for the Nashville Predators, the main focus is typically on Shea Weber from a defensive vantage point. He is big, strong, fast, and has the hardest shot in the NHL. Should Roman Josi be in the same category of Weber? Should he be considered elite? Should he be considered for the Norris Trophy? The numbers speak for themselves. Josi is currently tied for seventh amongst defenseman in goals with four, 12th in assists with nine, ninth in total points with 13, eighth in power-play points with six, and average time on ice per game with 24:56 puts him in ninth. Josi is a physical presence that can stop some of the most talented forwards in the NHL. Watch him tonight and see what a great talent that we have along with Shea Weber.
The Predators will look to start off the current road trip with a win tonight. The match-up between former Central division rivals can be seen on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.
Puck will drop at a special time of 6:00 pm!