Keys to Watch
More of the Same
The Nashville Predators had a dominant performance from Pekka Rinne on Thursday night as Nashville defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 in front of a raucous home crowd. The offensive leaders showed up in Ryan Johansen and Roman Josi both netting their first goals of the season, as well as Ryan Hartmann starting the scoring at 3:02 of second period. Nashville will be looking for more of the same as the season progresses. Tonight, Barry Trotz and the New York Islanders make their way south to Bridgestone Arena for their second contest of the season. Last Saturday, the Predators traveled to the Barclays Center and won a tough contest 4-3 behind two scores by Viktor Arvidsson and a solid performance by Juuse Saros. The Predators will be looking for a similar outcome in front of their home crowd for the third straight matchup.
Tonight, it is projected that Juuse Saros will be in net against the New York Islanders. The only game that Saros has played in this season was one week ago against these same Islanders. The coaching staff looks to be giving Saros more work this season to keep him up to speed. Pekka Rinne can not play 70 games in the regular season and be the player that Nashville needs in the postseason. Juuse Saros is a more than capable backup and the future for the Nashville Predators net. It is critical for him to get vital reps and build for the future, while backing up Rinne now.
Fixing the Power Play
If you have a 5-on-3 for an extended period of time, as in the Winnipeg game, and DO NOT score, something is wrong with your power play. The Nashville Predators are one of five teams in the NHL that have yet to score during the man-advantage. This power play, right now, is downright awful. From an outsiders perspective, it seems as though players are looking for the perfect pass to the perfect score. From my perspective, as an avid observer of hockey, the Nashville Predators have, right now, one of the worst power plays in the National Hockey League. The key to a scoring power play is to get traffic in front of the goaltender, block his view, and pepper the net. An action that I have yet to see on a consistent basis. They have had ample chances. There is no reason for the Preds to not have scored a goal with an extra skater yet this season. Let’s see if it gets any better.
The Nashville Predators will look to win back-to-back games at Bridgestone Arena and take another one from Barry Trotz’s new squad. 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 7:00pm!