The Preds took home a W on Thursday, and there’s a lot of good news on the ice.

This new Nashville offense plays hard and fast, but still retains the finesse that our key players have, while the defense seems to have been bolstered by some of these new additions.

Here’s five things to look for when watching tonight’s game:

Benning-Borowiecki pairing holding strong

Nashville’s newest third defensive line worked hard and minimized chances in Thursday’s game. They combined for 5 blocked shots and each found their way to a +2 overall last night.

Historically speaking, Nashville has had some trouble in the past few years with underperforming defensive pairs. Hamhuis, Tinordi, and Weber specifically were tragically poor point producers last season. In fact, Yannick Weber didn’t even make the team this year.

Needless to say, these bottoms lines can account for a fair amount of mistakes, especially when mismatched. That’s why the good performance of this pair matters so much and can be indicative of greater things to come.

Kunin, Haula, Cousins strengthening mid lines

These three were clear standouts in last game, with Kunin and Haula even collecting points on the night.

Long term, the creative playmaking and consistent attacking power of Kunin and Haula are a great match for Matt Duchene.

Keep an eye on Nick Cousins. You’ll see some serious work ethic, fun chirps, and maybe even a point or two.

The grit of Cousins not only replaces the physicality that Watson brought, but also adds a high speed player to match developing Nashville players like Rocco Grimaldi. That same speed will be useful when Granlund returns from IR, making him a decent replacement for Craig Smith too.

Grimaldi, Duchene have room to grow

Rocco Grimaldi and Matt Duchene are two of the same: A perfect fit for Nashville both on and off the ice, but each have struggled to really hit their stride here.

Rocco was a huge part of the breakout Smith-Bonino-Grimaldi third line that surprised everyone last year, and even when lines began to shift, he got some good ice time in with Mikael Granlund too.

Matt Duchene can easily bring in sixty to seventy points in a normal regular season, but has struggled with output in the past few years, looking especially lackluster last year. However, with two newbies on his line, this may be the opportunity for Duchene to step it up and bring his brand of hockey to the Nashville lines.

David Poile has made a serious investment in these guys, especially in Duchene. With a new system in place, now is the time where we may see some return on investment.

JoFA in front of the net

This is something I couldn’t shake last game and I’d love to see more of in the future.

Arvidsson and Johansen specifically found some great chances in front of the net and really kept the pressure on Korpisalo. Forsberg has also found his place in the wings, especially when Nashville has the time to control the attack, but still retains that high speed attack that he’s known for.

Not every play is going to be the “through-the-legs-past-two-guys-going-top-corner” highlight that we want, so its reassuring to know our top line is willing to get dirty.


This guy has it going on, and I think he may keep it that way for a while.

Last season, I wrote a lot about how the Preds can’t really rely on goaltenders to carry the defense as they have in years past, but qw can’t belittle their netminders either.

Luckily, Thursday night was a great example of that middle ground. Ekholm and Ellis saved the day on a few Columbus attacks, but Saros really stood out in some high pressure moments.

While I don’t think the days of mind-blowing Pekka Rinne saves are over yet, this type of play from Saros gives me some hope for the future of the team.