Keys to Watch
Top Forwards Producing
The Nashville Predators struggled mightily at the beginning of the 2016-17 season with goal production. Players, such as Viktor Arvidsson, started the season red-hot in scoring, but the players that Nashville needed to produce the most were quiet. Since the Arizona game on November 3rd, something has clicked. The defense looks like the cohesive unit, but more importantly, the top forwards are putting up numbers in high volume. James Neal has picked up his scoring more than any player. Over the last four games, the Whitby, Ontario native has five goals on thirteen shots. Filip Forsberg was able to get his first goal of the season, while leading the team with eleven points and ten assists. If these top forwards can produce, the sky is the limit for this squad.
Power-play Cooling Off
At the beginning of the season, the Nashville Predators started off as the best team in the NHL with a man-advantage. The Predators seemed to get their way and make the other team pay when on the power-play. As of recent games, the Predators power-play has sunk to 24.1% conversion, which is not bad, but when they were hovering around 50% early in the season, it seems like a let down. With only one power-play goal since November 5th against Carolina, the Predators need to be able to take advantage of the opportunities given. It will be interesting to see how they do tonight because Toronto has a solid penalty kill at 83.0% stoppage rate.
Struggles in Net for Toronto
The biggest struggle this season for the Maple Leafs is their lack of goaltending. The Toronto Maple Leafs have allowed the fourth most goals in the NHL this season at 54. Their goals against per game is 3.60 and they allow the most shots on their goaltender in the league with 34.3 shots allowed per game. Toronto’s main netminder is Frederik Andersen. Andersen is allowing 3.42 goals against per contest and has a .901 save percentage. With lots of young offensive talent including Auston Matthews, the Maple Leafs could be a contender in the Eastern division, but with lackluster goaltending, it could be a long season.
In net for Nashville tonight will be goaltender Marek Mazanec as Pekka Rinne is day-to-day with a lower body injury.
Be sure to catch all of tonight’s action as the Predators travel to Toronto to begin a three-game road trip. Fox Sports-Tennessee will carry the game or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!