Preds release 2017-18 Pre-Season Schedule

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Image Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Early this afternoon, the Nashville Predators released some vital information for all you suffering from hockey withdraws: the 2017-18 pre-season schedule. Per usual (perhaps tradition), Nashville will face the Florida Panthers, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Columbus Blue Jackets to get ready for another bout towards the Stanley Cup.

  • Tuesday, September 19th @ 3:30PM – Florida Panthers @ Nashville Predators
  • Tuesday, September 19th @ 7PM – Florida Panthers @ Nashville Predators
  • Friday, September 22nd @ 6:30PM – Nashville Predators @ Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Sunday, September 24th @ 6PM – Nashville Predators @ Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Thursday, September 28th @ 7PM – Columbus Blue Jackets @ Nashville Predators
  • Saturday, September 30th @ 7PM – Tampa Bay Lightning @ Nashville Predators

And be sure to keep those calendars at hand as the full 2017-18 schedule will be released this coming Thursday. Pre-season tickets go on sale at 10AM this Friday, followed by a Fan Appreciation Draft Party at Bridgestone Arena from 4PM-10PM. For more information, visit the Nashville Predators site.

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2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

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Image Source: NBC Sports

Moments ago, the NHL released the final roster of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles January 28th-29th. Not surprisingly, Nashville has only one player on said roster: P.K. Subban, who was voted by the fans as the Central Division Captain. And, with his upper-body injury slated to be healed by the All-Star Weekend, Subban may have to relinquish his captain duties to someone else for safety’s sake.

– CENTRAL DIVISION

  • P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
  • Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars

 

– ATLANTIC DIVISION:

  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
  • Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens
  • Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
  • Frans Nielsen – Detroit Red Wings
  • Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vincent Trocheck – Florida Panthers
  • Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabres
  • Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

– PACIFIC DIVISION:

  • Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
  • Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
  • Mike Smith – Arizona Coyotes
  • Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  • Jeff Carter – L.A. Kings
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks

– METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

  • Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils
  • Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets

What do you think about the roster for this year’s All-Star Weekend? Nashville isn’t the only team with one representative, but if you want to include former Preds (Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Seth Jones, and Shea Weber), then Nashville’s actually pretty well represented.

All joking aside, the big question is will Subban be healthy enough to participate? As mentioned, his 2-3 week recovery time ends at about the time of the All-Star festivities, but should not participate if it risks re-injury (thus keeping him out of the lineup even longer). Of course, that will be something the organization and Subban discuss as time gets closer.

 

 

Preds down Bolts 6-1; Sissons earns Hat Trick

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After the frustrating loss against Montreal on Tuesday, it was clear the Predators had moved on after trouncing the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-1 last night. While it is easy to fuss about the inconsistency Nashville has been plagued with this season, the type of communication and style of play that came from the team last night was further proof that they are capable of working together successfully. One could argue that perhaps Tampa Bay was simply having an off night and maybe they were. The difference here is Nashville’s victory was not guided by fluky behavior from the Bolts; they were actually organized.

Mike Fisher got the ball rolling at 2:25 in the first period, earning his 11th goal of the season. Fisher’s powerplay goal was assisted in part by Ryan Johansen (21) and Mattias Ekholm (13).

While the first period would end 1-0 with Nashville on top, Filip Forsberg would open the second period at 3:56 with his 9th goal of the season, assisted by Kevin Fiala (3) and Ryan Johansen (22), to give Nashville a 2-0 lead.

It would begin to look like Tampa Bay was on its way back as Tyler Johnson collected his 12th goal of the season, breaking Nashville’s lead in half a 2-1. Colton Sissons, however, would object to that and punch his 3rd goal of the season, assisted by Mike Fisher (12).

Not even a minute later, Ryan Ellis would notch his 5th goal of the season, but not first without some nay-say from the officials. Linesmen initially called goaltender interference on Viktor Ardvisson, claiming the goal was no good:

Predators head coach Peter Laviolette quickly challenged the ruling, which was reversed despite the disapproval of the home crowd. But before Nashville could celebrate, head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Jon Cooper, threw out the challenge that Jarnkrok was off-sides prior to the goal. However, after thoroughly reviewing the play, it was deemed inconclusive and Ryan Ellis’ goal would stand. Colin Wilson (11) and Viktor Arvidsson (15) would notch the assists.

The third period would belong to Colton Sissons as he not only notched his fourth and fifth goals of the season, he also picked up his first career NHL hat trick. This was also his first multi-goal game in his NHL career, too. Oh, and yeah, he’s the first player in NHL history to record a hat trick with the second goal an empty-netter and the third goal with a goaltender in net. Sort of a weird record but I highly doubt Sissons is complaining.

Victories like these can help propel the Predators through this second half of the season and give them the boost for which they have desperately been searching. They will have tonight to see if that momentum lasts as they move south to Sunrise to take on the 16-15-8 Florida Panthers. Game time is at 6:30PM.

 

OT woes continue to plague Preds in 2-1 loss against MTL

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Image Source: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Although it was a bittersweet night with the return of Shea Weber to Nashville since being traded to Montreal for P.K. Subban in the off-season, it wasn’t how the Predators had hoped to start 2017 and the second half of the season. The 3-on-3 OT format has been in place since last season, and while the rest of the league has generally figured it out, Nashville just hasn’t seemed to get it down. In fact, Nashville’s OT/SO record since the start of last season is 7-20. Woof.

However, it’s that continuous inconsistency that forces the Predators into that all too familiar scenario that is the overtime loss. Nashville’s lone goal was notched by Kevin Fiala with less than a minute left in the second period, his sixth of the season. Fiala’s backhander was assisted by Ryan Ellis (9) and Roman Josi (15). It wouldn’t take long before Shea Weber would come knocking, collecting his 10th goal of the season with the assistance of former (and not so welcomed) Predator, Alexander Radulov. It’s almost like he doesn’t know how not to score in Bridgestone Arena.

While Nashville would push Montreal beyond regulation (which used to be considered a good thing), overtime would yet again deny Nashville of the much needed win and two points. Captain Max Pacioretty would seal Nashville’s OT fate for his 16th goal of the season. Let it also be known that Radulov assisted on this goal as well (his 20th overall).

Despite this loss, Nashville’s penalty kill looked rather decent, with the Predators denying the Habs four times throughout the match. Montreal gave Nashville three chances at the man advantage, but prevented them from ever getting a chance at net. Oh yeah, and Carey Price is a stud. And yet, so is Pekka Rinne. As Peter Laviolette mentioned after the game:

Of the 45 shots on net from Montreal last night, Pekka Rinne stopped all but two. Carey Price only faced 24 from Nashville. While some would rather argue that Juuse Saros should be given more ice time (and I don’t disagree – to an extent), Rinne is still Nashville’s veteran and starting goaltender; and pardon my French here, but he’s still damn good. Saros will be an outstanding successor for Rinne but for now, he’s just that; the future. He probably should see a little bit more ice time, but that’s a debate for another day.

Nashville has no time to pout about their former captain stealing the show; it’s onward to Florida to face the 19-16-4 Tampa Bay Lightning. At this point, the Predators have no time left to revel over poor performance; just time to recoup and continue seeking the solution to their inconsistency before the playoffs are out of reach.

Let me leave you on a rather heartwarming note with Nashville’s tribute video to Shea Weber. A TV timeout just wasn’t enough time to convey what Weber has done for Nashville and the growth of hockey in our city. So many lives have been impacted positively by your actions both on and off the ice. Truly, there are not enough thank yous that can be said to express how grateful we are. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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Preds sign Matt Carle to one-year Deal

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Image Source: Tampa Bay Lightning

Keeping everyone on their toes today, the Predators confirmed a second signing this afternoon, this time involving veteran defenseman Matt Carle. Here’s the official word from the Predators:

The Predators newest defenseman, who inked a one-year, $700,000 deal with the club on Wednesday, played for Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette and Assistant Coach Kevin McCarthy from 2009-12, when the three were members of the Philadelphia Flyers organization. Add that to the time spent with Preds Assistant Coach Phil Housley and Team USA at the 2013 World Championship, and the familiarity with those behind the bench can only help Carle find his game once more.

Bought out of the final two seasons of a six-year deal by Tampa Bay, Carle is hoping for a fresh start in Nashville with a blue line that is arguably the League’s best.

Carle is a veteran of 724 career regular-season games – the most of any Preds defenseman – and 127 postseason contests, which include two trips to the Stanley Cup Final, once in 2010 with Laviolette and the Flyers, the other in 2015 with Tampa Bay. The 31-year-old blueliner, born in Anchorage, Alaska, is excited to see what’s next to come in Tennessee.

Carle saw the most statistical success of his career while playing under Laviolette, hitting the 35-plus point mark for three consecutive seasons, including 40 points in 2010-11. With the interest in Nashville already present, a phone call with Laviolette may have sealed the deal.

Drafted 47th overall in the 2003 NHL Draft, Matt Carle was actually Tampa Bay’s highest paid defenseman last season at $5.5M. However, after a disappointing 2015-16 season, the Lightning bought out the remainder of his contract and off to unrestricted free agency he went… and into the arms of the Nashville Predators. At 31-years-old, Carle will be the oldest defenseman on the team, filling the veteran void left behind by Weber and Jackman. Matt Carle should find success under his former coach, which should overshadow his performance last season.

Preds Rookie Camp Details

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Image Source: Google Images

Happy last Friday of August, everyone! As this month comes to a close, we are just a few weeks from the most glorious time of the year converging amongst us! But first, let’s talk Rookie Camp, which opens on Thursday, September 10th. Here’s a little info from the Predators:

Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced Friday that Nashville Predators prospects will report to town on Thursday, Sept. 10 before heading to Estero, Fla., the following day for a Rookie Tournament against teams from the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals from Sept. 12-15 at Germain Arena.

The Predators team, comprised of signed and unsigned draft picks, free-agent signings and free-agent tryouts, will be coached by Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) Head Coach Dean Evason and assistant coach Stan Drulia. Among the 24 players scheduled to participate are first-round pick Kevin Fiala (11th overall in 2014), second-round selections Pontus Aberg (2012), Jack Dougherty (2014), Vladislav Kamenev (2014) and Yakov Trenin (2015), as well as goaltending prospect Juuse Saros making his North American professional debut.

The games and camp will precede the opening of 2015 Training Camp, which occurs Sept. 17, with physicals and team meetings. The Predators’ first day on the ice will be Friday, Sept. 18 at Centennial Sportsplex and they will play six preseason contests from Sept. 20-Oct. 3, including four at home (Sept. 20 vs. Florida (doubleheader), Sept. 23 vs. Tampa Bay and Sept. 29 vs. Columbus).

And now, onward to the schedule of events:

  • Thursday, September 10th – Centennial Sportsplex – 1PM
  • Friday, September 11th – Centennial Sportsplex – 10AM
  • Saturday, September 12th – Germain Arena – 7PM (Game against Tampa Bay’s prospects)
  • Sunday, September 13th – Germain Arena – 2PM (Game against Florida’s prospects)
  • Tuesday, September 15th – Germain Arena – 9AM (Game against Washington’s prospects)

Listed in bold are the practices that you can attend. I mean, if you are in Estero, Florida during these dates then by all means, get yourself to these rookie tournaments.

 

 

Preds tackle Avs 5-2

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

After a not-so stellar performance on the road, the Predators headed back home to welcome in the divisional rival Colorado Avalanche, who might be sitting at the bottom of the Central Division, but certainly not out. Last Friday night, the Avalanche whipped fellow Central Division mate, the Chicago Blackhawks, 4-1 and then went on to defeat the 7th team in the League (the Tampa Bay Lightning) 5-4. Again, Colorado might be down, but they aren’t out. However, Nashville is the Top Dog in the League for a reason and tonight was a night to shush the naysayers.

SCRATCHES: Taylor Beck

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Nathan MacKinnon (13) got the puck moving at 3:57, a lucky break as the puck deflected off of Roman Josi’s skate into the net. Ryan O’Reilly (25) and Brad Stuart (8) notched the assists.
  • Not fifteen seconds later, Mister “I was healthy scratched on Sunday” Calle Jarnkrok answered the call to action and netted one alone for his sixth of the season.
  • Around the 13-minute mark of the game, Avalanche Captain, Gabriel Landeskog took aim at Roman Josi along the boards.
  • As you can see, Landeskog absolutely levels Josi with the hit, prompting both Paul Gaustad and Shea Weber to come to the rescue. Though I wouldn’t want to go up against Gaustad or Weber, I think if I had to choose, I’d go with duking it out with Gaustad. Unfortunately for Landeskog, #AngryShea got to him before Gaustad did.
  • Both players would be given majors (5 minutes) for fighting, but somehow, Weber also received a 10-minute misconduct AND an instigator penalty, totaling his time in the box at 17 minutes.
  • Nashville would finish out the remainder of the first period without their Captain and notch nine SOG to Colorado’s three.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • Craig Smith would open the second period with his 19th goal of the season, giving Nashville the 2-1 lead at 4:32. Mike Fisher (17) collected the lone assist.
  • Roman Josi would punch his 11th goal of the season at 11:06 with assistance from Matt Cullen (10).
  • Colorado would only manage five SOG during the second compared to Nashville’s sixteen.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • To remind everyone he’s still here (like we’ve forgotten), Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-1 lead just 52 seconds into the third period for his 21st goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro picked up the assist, his 39th of the season.
  • Patrick Roy, who is known for pulling his goaltenders early in the games, did just that, giving Colorado a two-man advantage (Craig Smith called for hi-sticking & Shea still in the box). Eric Nystrom (7) slapped a wrister down the length of the ice, nailing the empty net for a short-handed goal at 8:28. Roman Josi (33) grabbed the assist.
  • With under two minutes to go, Colorado slipped on passed Pekka Rinne for a powerplay goal by John Mitchell (7), but it was too late for the Avalanche to make a comeback run.

It is pretty evident why Shea Weber risked a lifetime in the penalty box to protect his fellow linesman. First off, he’s the leader and that’s what a great leader does; second, the memory of Steve Downie’s hit on Roman Josi, just two games into last year’s season. That hit was not investigated like it should have been and Josi was concussed for a few months. Though Downie no longer is a member of the Colorado Avalanche, that wound was reopened by Gabriel Landeskog last night.

Now 41-13-7, the Predators now sit six points ahead of the team second in the league, the Montreal Canadiens. The closest divisional rival, the St. Louis Blues, sit nine points back. Chicago? Twelve points back.

The Predators welcome in the Minnesota Wild for a special 7:30PM start time on Thursday night (airing on NBC Sports).

Preds take Lightning 3-2 with OT Winner

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Has it decided that the Predators love the game so much they just have to beyond regulation? Or am I – and everyone else – just suffering from a case of déjà vu? Either way you slice it, the Predators are coming out with the two points — whilst doling a point to their given opponent. The Tampa Bay Lightning are just as their name perceives – lightning fast and that trait has helped boost them to the top of the Eastern Conference and fourth in the league (tied at 74 points with the Blues who have one less loss than the Bolts). The Predators have more of a “if I can setup the play, I’ll just dump it” mentality, which has gotten better this season than in the past, but with a in-your-face team like Tampa Bay, the Predators needed to be a little more risqué when it comes to shooting the puck… at the net.

SCRATCHES: Mattias Ekholm, Colin Wilson, Olli Jokinen

FIRST PERIOD:

  • For the third game in a row, neither team was able to get one in the net during the third period. Chalk this one up to both Pekka Rinne and Andrei Vasilevskiy just being on point. Rinne blocked ten shots-on-goal while Vasilevskiy blocked his eight shots. I mean, look what this kid did to rob Mike Ribeiro:

SECOND PERIOD:

  • In only his second NHL Career game, Anthony Bitetto – who was called up to fill in for the injured Mattias Ekholm – dropped the gloves against Brett Connolly. Bitetto did so to defend fellow player Craig Smith, which made a fairly good impression on his teammates – that, and Bitetto clearly won the bout.
  • Seth Jones would finally get the blood flowing at 8:31 with his 6th goal of the season. Viktor Stalberg (4) and Anton Volchenkov (5) nabbed the assists.
  • Just four minutes later, Taylor Beck would put Nashville up 2-0 at 12:47, his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad (9) and Eric Nystrom (5) would tally the assists.
  • Nashville would own the second period, sending 11 shots-on-goal compared to Tampa Bay’s eight.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Ah, but the Lightning weren’t going down without a fight. At just 1:20 into the third, Brett Connolly made up for losing his bout with Bitetto and sent a wrister whizzing past Rinne, his 10th of the season.
  • And, just seven minutes later, Nikita Kucherov would tie the game at 7:50 with a slapshot, his 21st of the season.
  • The Predators just couldn’t muster up another goal (nor could Tampa Bay) so thus the déjà vu of bonus hockey returns.

OVERTIME:

  • In what everyone deemed was going into a shootout, James Neal had other plans. Breaking the puck away with less than 30 seconds left in overtime, Neal connected on a wrister to win the game, his 18th goal of the season. Roman Josi (28) and Matt Cullen (7) assisted in the winner.

NOTEWORTHY:

  • Viktor Stalberg, who was called up to fill in for the ailing Colin Wilson, saw 11:43 of ice time walked away with one point (assist).
  • With the trade deadline fast approaching (March 2nd), will Nashville make a move? No doubt they will, but in order to get something good, you’ve got to trade something good in return (whether that be a player, draft pick, or a combination of both). With no word on Ryan Ellis’ return (and the fact his jersey has no appeared in the GnashVegas auction), my guess is Ellis will be up for trade bait. Yes, he did just recently sign a five-year, $12.5M contract, but remember, we traded Patric Hornqvist off during his five-year contract extension, too (just one year after he signed it).
  • Colin Wilson may be ready to return within the next game or two, as he was practicing with the team yesterday morning.
  • With just ten more wins, Nashville can secure a playoff spot. That, and they are just two points from being the first team to reach 80 points this season. Me gusta.

If you missed last night’s game, then you surely don’t want to miss tomorrow’s against the Winnipeg Jets, a division rival that’s clawing for a playoff spot. Winnipeg is twelve points behind Nashville, but has won their last two; they’ll be looking to knock of the league leader for sure tomorrow night.

Bitetto & Stalberg Recalled to NSH

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I’m a little behind on the hockey news today due to teaching some local high school students about Marketing (woop, woop) so hopefully, you are too by reading this. Due to injuries sustained by both Colin Wilson (Saturday night against the Rangers) and Mattias Ekholm (Sunday against the Panthers), both Anthony Bitetto and Viktor Stalberg were recalled from the Milwaukee Admirals to fill their void.

Bitetto, who has already been called up once this season (made his NHL debut back on January 17th against Detroit) and… sorry Stalberg, we’ve lost count. Colin Wilson did join the team for their morning skate, but Head Coach Peter Laviolette did not go into details on whether or not he’ll be back in the lineup tonight or not.

The Predators take on the #3 team in the League, the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and, since it won’t be broadcasted tonight, you better be jumping on some tickets.

Preds plunder Panthers 3-2 in SO

Source: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images

There ain’t no rest for the wicked, as they say and, whether you think the Predators are wicked or not is by personal opinion, Nashville hasn’t had much breathing room. After defeating the New York Rangers 3-2 yesterday afternoon, the Predators were back at it again this afternoon against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise.

SCRATCHES: Colin Wilson

FIRST PERIOD:

  • Very much like yesterday, the first period today was slightly uneventful with no goals for either team. Both teams were given powerplay chances, but neither goaltender was willing to let one by.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • The second period belonged to the Panthers, as both Tomas Fleischmann (6) and rookie Aaron Ekblad (8) would sink goals on Carter Hutton. The period would end in favor of the Panthers 2-0.
  • Mattias Ekholm suffered an upper-body injury late in the second period after slamming into the boards. Though he was able to leave on his own, Ekholm did not return to the game after his injury.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • The Predators finally hit the right notes at 4:44 into the third period with a powerplay slapshot from Seth Jones. Mike Ribeiro (34) setup the assist for Jones’ fifth goal of the season.
  • Filip Forsberg would tie the game at 15:17 on another powerplay opportunity, collecting his 18th goal of the season. No assistance was needed for Forsberg’s snapshot past Roberto Luongo.

OVERTIME:

  • Onward to the shootout!

SHOOTOUT:

  • FLA – Brandon Pirri – MISS
  • NSH – Matt Cullen – GOAL
  • FLA – Brad Boyes – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – GOAL
  • FLA – Nick Bjugstad – GOAL
  • NSH – Roman Josi – MISS
  • FLA – Dave Bolland – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL

NOTEWORTHY:

  • With his game-tying and game-winning goal, Filip Forsberg is all smiles – as usual. With eighteen goals, Forsberg is tied with Alexander Radulov’s rookie goal record.

    Source: @tomawillis

  • Mike Fisher cup-checked Erik Gudbranson at the end of regulation and got away scot-free. Anyone who knows Fisher knows it was unintentional, but it’s still a wee bit funny:
  • Colin Wilson, who is day-to-day, did not make the trip with the team to Florida – unsurprisingly.
  • Carter Hutton is now 5-4-4 on the season and me thinks may have found his niche.

It is certainly safe to say that Nashville came into Sunrise, Florida and stole two points from the Panthers. With the collection of two points, Nashville is now 35-12-6 and, thanks to the Lightning defeating the Ducks 5-1, the Predators are now back atop the League with 76 points. Kudos to the Blackhawks as well for taking a chunk out of the St. Louis Blues 4-2 (the Blues are down by four at 72 points).

The Predators are back Tuesday night as they welcome the best in the Eastern Conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning.