The Nashville Predators last skated on Tuesday night as they faced-off against division rival, Dallas Stars. The Preds were looking to continue their current hot trend in front of the hometown crowd. Nashville began the night off with a score during the first period as Craig Smith netted his 15th goal of the season at 12:38. Dallas would respond with one of the quickest goals this season as Antoine Roussel scored ten seconds later to tie the game at 1-1 going into the first intermission.
The second period was an extremely physical match-up as both teams were penalized with roughing, cross-checking, and holding penalties. It would be the Predators who took advantage on the scoreboard with three tallies in the first ten minutes of the period from Calle Jarnkrok (13), a power-play goal from Shea Weber (16), and an additional goal from Mattias Ekholm (7). At 16:28, Dallas would get a power-play goal of their own by Jason Spezza (22) to decrease the Nashville lead to 4-2.
The last period both teams exchanged goals from James Neal and Vernon Fiddler to give Nashville their fifth straight victory and a point in ten straight games. The final score ended with the Predators ahead 5-3.
Keys to Watch
The Nashville Predators are on fire. They have put together a string of games that are allowing themselves to slowly move up in the standings within the Central Division. Nashville has not lost a game in regulation in the last ten decisions (7-0-3) and are currently seven points in front of Colorado and Minnesota for the wild card spots in the Western Conference. Pekka Rinne has been the all-world player Nashville fans have come to expect. Shea Weber returned to the lineup on Tuesday night and looked as though he didn’t miss a beat with a three-point performance. The Predators cannot let up now. They have to keep the pedal down and secure their spot for the post-season.
Adjustments to the Devils Lineup
The New Jersey Devils were busy before Monday’s trade deadline acquiring two players. Devante Smith-Pelly was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens and looks to play a significant role in the New Jersey lineup as he is projected on the line with Reid Boucher and Adam Henrique as the top pairing. The other addition was defenseman, David Warsofsky, who was picked up off of waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Devils are looking to get back on track after a less than exciting 4-6-0 in the last ten games and a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday night.
Shots Per Games Played
The Nashville Predators shots per game stat compared to the New Jersey Devils is a gaping difference between both squads. Nashville is currently 11th in the NHL with 30.4 shots on goal per game. In comparison, the Devils are last in the league with 24.6 shots on goal per game. Tonight, the Preds need to ensure plenty of shots on Keith Kincaid as he starts over Cory Schneider. In 12 games this season, Kincaid has a record of 4-5-1, .912 save percentage, and goals against average of 2.41.
Tonight, Mike Fisher will play in his 1,000th game in front of the Nashville crowd. 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!