After a much better effort on Friday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, The Nashville Predators (16-10-2) hope to revenge their Wednesday night overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild (12-12-3) tonight at the Sommet Center.
This is like a severe case of deja vu taking another look at this match-up in the span of three days. A couple of things have changed on the Preds side with roster moves that sent Mike Santorelli to Milwaukee with Cal O'Reilly and Ryan Jones coming up in return.
O'Reilly got his first assist of the year in last night's game against the Hawks while Ryan Jones did not make the scorecard.
The Wild won their game last night in Minnesota with in 5-4 shoot-out against the Ducks to get to the .500 mark for the first time this season since their second game. They have now won four straight games for the first time since October 11-18, 2008 and also have a six game point streak.
Guillaume Latendresse has had a big impact since being acquired from Montreal. He had the game-winning goal in last night's shootout and has had 2 goals and an assist in four games for the Wild since coming over from Montreal.
Neither coach has officially announced the staring goaltender for tonight's game. I would imagine that Pekka Rinne (11-6-1, 2.61, .907) will go for the Preds but Barry Trotz may be impressed enough with last night's performance to send Dan Ellis (5-4-1, 2.53, 913) out once again.
Nicklas Backstrom (11-9-3, 2.70, .906) probably will go for the Wild but Josh Harding (1-3-0, 3.41, .861) is not out of the question.
Preds Keys to the Game
More Balanced Play...
In last night's win, the Goc-Erat-Tootoo line was the dominant scoring force while in the game on Wednesday against the Wild, the traditional first line carried the load. Last night the Arnott line only managed two shots. The Preds need to get out of the roller-coaster syndrome and return to a more balanced scoring attack with all lines contributing.
Continued Full Ice Defensive Effort...
Last night's game was not a text book example of what a great defense is supposed to look like, but with the help of Dan Ellis, they managed to get the job done. The Legwand-Smithson-Ward line was outstanding in keeping the young guns under wraps. The only goal allowed was a highlight film effort by Jonathan Toews that few could stop.
Wear the Third Jersey Proudly...
After losing their first game in the thirds a week ago Friday, the Preds came back to win on Saturday in the new threads. We will consider that the Friday game was not "official" since the thirds are supposed to be worn on Saturday nights in Smashville. The Preds had a big advantage over the years when wearing the old mustards and that needs to keep going with the new retro thirds too.
The Preds will play four of their next five games at home before disappearing for the rest of the month except for a Boxing day game against Chicago. Vancouver will visit the Sommet Center on Tuesday in the Preds next game.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass