The Nashville Predators will meet the New Jersey Devils tonight at 7 p.m. CDT at the Bridgestone Arena in their only meeting of the season. It will be the Predators first meeting of the year against an Eastern Conference team in the young season.
Both teams are 2-1 with the Preds losing their last one on Thursday to Phoenix 5-2 after winning their first two on the road last weekend. The Devils lost their opener to Philadelphia but won their last two, including a 2-1 shootout win over the Kings on Thursday. This is the Devils first game on the road this season.
The Predators are banged up with Marty Erat, Mike Fisher, and Francis Bouillon on injured reserve and Patric Hornqvist being a game time decision with a "lower body" injury.
The Devils' future Hall of Fame goalie, Martin Brodeur was injured in a fall during Thursday's game and will not dress tonight. Johan Hedberg (2-0-0, 1.14, .952) will get the start and be backed up by Keith Kinkaid who was called up from Albany on an emergency basis today.
It is assumed that Pekka Rinne (2-1-0, 2.67, .918) will start for the Predators.
The Predators are being led in scoring by David Legwand (2g, 5a), who leads the NHL in points with seven. The Devils' offensive leaders are Zach Parise (2g,1a) and Ilya Kovalchuk (1g, 2a). Parise is coming off last season's surgery to take his place as a leader in the Devils' line-up.
The Predators have been heavily dependent on their special teams for scoring with three goals being scored on the power play and one shorthanded. They have only had four goals in five on five play while allowing seven. The penalty kill has allowed just one goal in twelve chances.
New Jersey is perfect on the penalty kill in fourteen opportunities but is only one of twelve on the man advantage.
Expect a low-scoring, close game in front of a sold-out gold-adorned arena. Since Feb. 29, 2000, the Preds and Devils have met 13 times and 11 were decided by a single goal. The Preds are 7-7-2 all-time against the devils and only 2-5-1 at home. The road team has won 11 of the 16 game played in the series all time.
After tonight's game, the Predators will head to Western Canada and play Edmonton on Monday, Vancouver on Thursday, and Calgary in a matinee next Saturday.
Other game previews come from Amanda DiPaolo, Ryan Porth, Robby Stanley, Dirk Hoag, Paul McCann, The Tennessean, and the Predatorial.
Ryan Porth has an audio clip of Jack Hillen previewing the Devils at Smashville 24/7.
From New Jersey, previews come from The Devils Examiner, Michelle Kenneth, Speaking of the Devs, In Lou We Trust, NJ.com, New York Post, Pucks and Pitchforks, and Fire and Ice.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass