In the eyes of sports, some nights you have “it” and other nights you don’t. Last night, the Nashville Predators faced off against the Columbus Blue Jackets and they did NOT have “it”.
The Preds gave up two goals in the first five minutes (Gregory Campbell-2:35, Ryan Johansen 4:16) of the game and couldn’t recover.
The Preds would give up two more goals on the night. Boone Jenner scored at 5:17 of the second period.
The final goal came from former Nashville Predator Scott Hartnell at 19:10. Rinne had been pulled and Hartnell scored the empty net goal to put the Blue Jackets up 4-0.
Tonight, the Preds look to rebound as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Wild.
This will be the second time the two teams have faced off against each other this season. In their last outing, the Preds won 3-2.
On Thursday, the Wild lost to the Boston Bruins 4-2.
Keys to Watch
Central Division Battle
It is widely known within the NHL that the Central Division is the best division in hockey. Five of the top six teams in the Western Conference come from the Central Division. Nashville is currently sitting in third at 25 points with two games in hand. Minnesota is currently in sixth with 23 points. Both have played the same amount of games (18). Tonight’s division battle will be a huge test for inter-division supremacy.
Hutton Needs to Start
Pekka Rinne has played in all but two games this season. He has done an excellent job in net with a 10-3-3 record with two shutouts, 2.17 goals against average, and .917 save percentage. He needs a break. Coach Peter Laviolette needs to give Rinne the night off tonight. Last night, his over-playing was on display as he let in three goals, two within the first five minutes. Give Carter Hutton the opportunity to get some work in. If not, this could have long lasting ramifications towards the end of the season.
Suter Anchoring the Defense
Since Ryan Suter left the Nashville Predators in 2012, he has continued to be one of the league’s best in the NHL. Suter is currently ranked first in the league with 27:43 time-on-ice per game. The Madison, Wisconsin native has continued to be an elite, defensive-minded player in the NHL. You better believe that Suter will be on ice tonight against the top lines of the Nashville offense. He is the leader of this young Minnesota defense which has an average age of 25 years and 51 days old.
**Zach Parise will not be playing due to a sprained MCL.
The Nashville Predators will be looking to get back on track tonight in Minnesota. All of tonight’s action will be covered on FOX Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.
Puck drops at 7:00 pm!