The Nashville Predators (9-8-4) were stinging after a 5-2 loss in Minnesota yesterday afternoon but need to put that behind them, regroup, and be ready to play a surprising New York Rangers (13-10-1) team tonight at the Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators have quietly slipped into a three game losing streak after showing a few signs of life in the games before the current streak. The Rangers have won three of their last four including a 3-0 blanking of the Panthers last night in Florida.
Pekka Rinne (6-7-3, 2,61, .911) will return to the Preds' net after playing only one period against the Wild where he gave up three goals on nine shots, primarily due to poor defensive play around him. Tom Callahan Tweets that Henrik Lundqvist (8-8-1, 2.72, .917) will start for the Rangers after playing 60 minutes and stopping all forty shots in last night's game in Florida.
The Rangers have far more firepower than the Predators averaging 3.0 goals per game while the Preds eek out 2.2 GPG. The Blue Shirts have ten players in double digits in points while the Preds only have three. Brandon Dubinsky leads in points (19) and goals (12) while Ryan Callahan leads in assists (12).
The Predators had two power play goals yesterday to move up to 27th in the league at 11.5%. The Rangers are ranked 14th at 17.0%. On the penalty kill, the teams are nearly identical with the Preds at 19th (82.5%) while the Rangers are 2oth (82.1%). New York is more heavily penalized at 16.5 MPG (25th) versus the Preds 10.5 MPG (4th).
The Predators appear to be without David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi for the longer term. According to Bryan Mullen, Kevin Klein will return tonight while Nick Spalling may be down for the count with the flu. The Rangers will be without Vinny Prospal, Chris Drury, and Michal Rozsival.
Oddities... The Rangers have not been in a shoot out this season while the Preds are 3-1 in them. New York has five shorthanded goals to the Preds' one. The Preds are 7-6-(1)-0 against the Rangers in 14 all-time meetings, but only 2-4-0 in Nashville.
My best memory of a Preds-Rangers game was from February 15, 1999, in the Preds' first season when Wayne Gretzky made his only Nashville appearance and had five assists in a 7-4 Rangers win. One of the main things that I remember is that "The Great One" had 999 career goals coming into the game and we wanted to see the 1000th but got the Bridgestone Arena record for assists instead.
The Predators' next game will be at home against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday.
Other game previews come from Bryan Mullen, Amanda DiPaolo, Chris Burton Preds.com, and the Tennessean.
From the other side of the fence previews come from the New York Post, News Day, North Jersey, BlueShirt Banter, SYNRangers Blog, Ranger's Report, Ranger Rants, Ranger's Review, Ranger's Tribute, and BlueShirts Blog.
Here is our game story from yesterday afternoon.
Josh Cooper had his game story, notes, postgame ponderings, and quotes.
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Chris Burton, What the Puck, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
Jordin Tootoo's fight with Clayton Stoner is up for voting at HockeyFights.com.
The winning side of the story comes from the Minnesota Star Tribune and Hockey Wilderness,
In Pred Nation...
Amanda DiPaolo has a story about the Preds needing to stick to "Predator Hockey."
Dirk Hoag has hiw weekend links round-up including some interesting stuff on the MSM-Blogger debate with Tyler Dellow.
Jay Levin sat down with Tom Cigarran for an interview as the third year anniversary of their ownership is a little over a week away.
Before yesterday's game, Josh Cooper wrote about Pekka Rinne and Niklas Backstrom's friendship.
Jas Faulkner has a great piece about the Predators ceremony honoring Andrea Conte at the Governor's mansion earlier this week. This isi one of the more interesting things that has happened in Predland lately.
Admirals Roundtable asks the question "should Colin Wilson be sent to Milwaukee?" I've been saying that it could help him for a week or so now. He's obviously not earning playing time in Nashville so a few games of close to 20 minutes would have to help.
Shane O'Brien gets interviewed by his hometown paper at Northumberland Today.
The Milwaukee Admirals broke their four game losing streak and Mark Dekanich got another shutout in a 1-0 win over the Texas Stars last night.
Around the NHL..
Mike Modano will be out indefinitely for Detroit after having wrist surgery this morning for an injury suffered last night against Columbus.
Ryan Porth sat down for a conversation with Erik Johnson when he was in town on Wednesday. THe guys at RLD also have a Saturday Face Off debating the first quarter MVP.
Su Ring has the US team round-up from the WHL at On The Rink.
Ex-Pred Ryan Parent is off IR and has been sent to the Manitoba Moose for conditioning. Hearing this make you really appreciate the Shane O/Brien trade.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass