The Nashville Predators finished up their brief Florida road-trip on Saturday night as they took on the Florida Panthers. The Preds put up a dominating performance with a 5-0 win over the Panthers.
The second period was more of the same as the first. Reilly Smith was called for hi-sticking against Calle Jarnkrok at 9:30. James Neal netted his 21st goal of the season, a power-play goal, at 10:24 to give Nashville a 3-0 lead.
In the final period of play, the Predators completed their most dominating performance of the season with more scoring. The first score was another power-play goal, but this time the goal was by Shea Weber at 7:59. The final score for the boys in gold was a short-handed goal, and second goal of the game, by Calle Jarnkrok (11) at 13:48 to enable Nashville to cruise to a 5-0 victory.
Not to be overshadowed by the exceptional offensive output was the play of Carter Hutton. Hutton expanded his season record to 6-2-1, stopping 22 shots, .924 save percentage, and 2.10 goals against average on the season. Saturday night was also Hutton’s second shutout of the season.
Keys to Watch
Hutton Starts Again
Carter Hutton is having his best season as a goalie in the NHL. Hutton has only allowed one goal in his last 179:47. During this span, he has stopped 77 of 78 shots, posted a .987 save percentage, and has two shutouts. Coach Peter Laviolette will play the hot hand tonight and give Hutton another start. Personally, this is an obvious decision. The Nashville Predators are trying to make the playoffs and fight towards a Stanley Cup, and as of recent, Hutton gives them a better chance to win over Pekka Rinne. The Preds seem to play with more confidence with Hutton in net. This could be the best play for Nashville right now.
Stars Looking for Four Straight
The Nashville Predators are looking for a win tonight, but the Stars coming in as one of the hottest teams in the league. In the month of February, the Stars have only lost one game, a 5-1 shellacking at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks on February 6th. Dallas has won four straight and six out of seven. Their latest win was a 4-3 decision against the Washington Capitals. The Caps were down 4-0 and almost came back for the victory. Nashville will need to put together another complete performance in order to get the victory.
A Dominating Offense
The Nashville Predators will be contending against a Dallas offense that is in the top 10 in almost every single offensive category. The Stars are first in goals (182), second in goals scored per game (3.25), fifth in power-play conversion (22.1%), tied for first in shots per game (32.5), and eighth in face-off win percentage (50.6%). The Predators need to have an exceptional defensive game. Keep the Stars below 30 shots, be physical, allow Hutton to see the puck, and win face-offs. Nashville must give themselves a chance at the end of the game. They can not get into a hole early in the game.
The Nashville Predators will look to continue their performance from Saturday night to get back-to-back wins. 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 7:00 pm!