Keys to Watch
Offense and Special Teams
The Nashville Predators were able to get back in the series on Tuesday night with a dominating performance, winning game three 4-1. Nashville scored four unanswered goals, from James Neal, Shea Weber, Colin Wilson, and Filip Forsberg. The special team’s play of the Preds stepped up with two goals on five chances on the power-play and stopping all four chances that San Jose had with an extra attacker. The Predators must continue their improved special teams to push the series to 2-2.
The play of Pekka Rinne has been astounding. The Nashville netminder stopped 26 of 27 shots on Tuesday night, and has only allowed six goals in the three games of this series. His play has increased as the series has went on. His save percentage for round two has been .931 and has a goals-against average of 2.00. Nashville needs Rinne to continue playing well.
Ribeiro or Aberg
The largest surprise of Tuesday’s game was where coach Peter Laviolette decided to sit Mike Ribeiro for the young Pontus Aberg. Aberg has spent the entire season with the AHL-affiliate, Milwaukee Admirals. In 74 games with the Admirals, he had 25 goals, 15 assists and 40 total points. Ribeiro has not played to his capabilities during this post season and the coaching staff did what was best in the situation. This could play out in one of two different ways. First, Aberg could be the lightning rod to the offense and help them push back or this could light a fire under Ribeiro and get his play back on track. For tonight, expect Aberg to be in the lineup. He played well and so did the team. No point in messing with the lineup after the best performance of the series, thus far.
The Nashville Predators will look to tie the series at two games apiece tonight in front of the home town fans. Be sure to catch all of the action on CNBC or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 8:00 PM tonight.