Keys to Watch
There is no denying that James Neal has been the best offensive player on the Nashville Predators roster early on this season. The Whitby, Ontario native has seven goals and four assists on the year. Six of the seven goals on the season have come in the last five games. James Neal has stepped up at a time when the organization has needed him to perform. The Predators will need Neal to continue his scoring against a stingy defensive squad in the Ottawa Senators. The intrigue will be in the game tonight to see if he can continue his hot streak.
If you are not concerned with the back-up goaltender situation in Nashville, you need to open your eyes. Marek Mazanec allowed six goals on Tuesday night in a demoralizing 6-2 loss to Toronto. This season, Mazanec has an anemic 5.45 goals-against average and .809 save percentage. The Nashville Predators cannot afford to have Pekka Rinne go down via injury for an extended period of time. Tonight, it has been confirmed that Rinne will be in net against the Ottawa Senators. The organization will need to ensure a dependable back-up behind Rinne. Whether developing Mazanec, bringing up Juuse Saros on a full-time basis, or picking up a dependable, veteran goaltender, there is cause for concern regarding this position in Smashville.
Senators Playing Well
The Ottawa Senators have been a solid team in the month of November that has excelled in winning six out of nine games for the first half of the month. The Senators success can be attributed, mostly, to their outstanding defensive play only allowing twelve goals over nine games (1.33 goals-against average). Craig Anderson has been outstanding to start out the season. So far, the Park Ridge, IL native has appeared in twelve games with a record of 8-3-0-1, 2.12 goals-against average, and .934 save percentage. Ottawa has been able to get timely-scoring, led by Erik Karlsson with three goals and eleven assists on the season.
Be sure to catch all of the action tonight as the Predators look to get back on track against a tough Ottawa squad that the Predators defeated last Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. Fox Sports-Tennessee will carry the action at 6:30 pm or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.