Late Game Letdowns
So, let us confront the elephant in the room and the concern among the fans. Over the last two games, the Predators had the opportunity to send the contests into overtime, but have given up some devastatingly heartbreaking goals late against Montreal and Chicago. Prior to the last two contests, the Predators had a point in six straight and seemed to go on an extensive run. This is a minor setback for Nashville. Tonight is a great example of facing a team that the Predators have been able to have recent success. Anaheim currently sits in third place in the Pacific Division and poised to make the playoffs. The Predators need a strong start tonight for the beginnings of this California swing.
Tonight is the final contest between the Predators and Ducks this season. These two have a heated rivalry dating back to the playoffs between the two clubs. Lopsided scores have been the mainstay in the first two games of the series this season, a 6-1 Anaheim victory at Honda Center on October 26 and a 5-0 Predators win on November 12 at Bridgestone Arena. The “rubber match” in California will be an intense end to the regular season between these two bitter rivals. A good California trip for the Predators could be the antidote for staying out of the Wild Card and finishing in the top three within the division.
The Predators are in dire need for their top six forwards to recapture their scoring prowess. The scoring for this year’s team depends upon how well Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and Ryan Johansen play on a given night. Forsberg has 15 points (10g-5a) over his last eight contests. Arvidsson has 17 points (11g-6a) in his last 15 games. Johansen has been able to lead the team in assists over the past 11 contests (10). If the Predators want to get back in the win column, they need these three players, along with Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, and James Neal to produce at a high level. It is imperative for their top forwards to produce.
Tonight, the Predators will begin a three-game California swing in Anaheim. 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 9:00pm!