Last night, the Nashville Predators made it back to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena to take on the New York Islanders in the first game of a back-to-back set. The first period would belong to the Preds as they scored the lone goal of the period. James Neal followed up his previous game’s hat-trick with another goal at 9:15 to give Nashville a 1-0 lead going into the second period.
In the second, the Islanders scored an early goal in the period to tie it up 1-1 (Ryan Pulock, 6:02). The only penalty on the night, between both teams, was a Cal Clutterbuck tripping call against Roman Josi. Nashville responded with a power-play goal by Ryan Ellis at 8:13. Less than two minutes later, Ryan Johansen scored his 12th goal of the season to push the Nashville’s lead to 3-1.
During the third period, the teams would swap goals. First, Brock Nelson (23) pulled his team to within one goal at 1:55. The Predators would hold the scoring line of Tavares, Okposo to only one point. Austin Watson scored an empty-net goal at 19:03 to give Nashville the 4-2 win.
Keys to Watch
Best in the League
When you look at the stats, the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL and cruising to the President’s Trophy. In 2009-2010, the Capitals won the President’s Trophy with 121 total points. In 69 games this season, the Caps already have 105 points with a record of 50-14-5. Washington is a team that has every possible attribute needed to show success in the regular season: great goaltending, goal scoring, and solid defense. Barry Trotz’s teams have always been a defensive minded team, but with Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Justin Williams, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. Oshie, this team will be a fighting force in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Nashville Predators have been one of the best teams over the last 10 games. Over this span, Nashville has a record of 7-1-2, only Philadelphia has a better record of 8-1-1. The Preds will have a tough test tonight going to Washington, DC facing a team that has the ability to score at any moment with the top-end talent that is on their roster. With tonight’s game being the second of a back-to-back, look for Carter Hutton to be the starter. Pekka Rinne played excellent game last night, and with the Preds increased possibility of making the playoffs, the coaching staff will look at giving Rinne a break heading into the post-season.
Sounds like a “Herculean” task, right? Alex Ovechkin is the best goal-scorer in the NHL with 42 goals. Evaluating his game is intriguing from an outsider’s perspective. The Moscow, Russia native is a big player at 6’3″ and 239 pounds, so, physicality is out of the question. Granted, you will need to be physical with him, but he can take the physical style of play. Ovechkin will be able to get his shots, too. Ovechkin currently leads the NHL, by a wide margin, with 342 shots. Brent Burns is closest to him with 294 shots. So, how do you stop him? Ovechkin is a streak player. If he scores one goal, he could score five. He is a player that you have to maintain over the full 60 minutes of an NHL game. If you keep him controlled, he struggles. He is currently going through a mini-slump with only one goal in his last six games. Needless to say, the Predators defense will have their hands full tonight.
The Predators will look to get a win tonight against Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals. 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 6:00 pm!