After a two-game homestand that featured a win over New Jersey and an overtime loss to Edmonton, the Canes will spend one game in Nashville away from PNC Arena before heading right back home.
The Canes are playing well in the month of February, having picked up points in all but two games so far. Things are particularly clicking well for the Canes’ top line of Andrei Svechnikov, Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen. All three guys are on point streaks, led by Aho whose streak is at nine games. The Finnish forward has scored in seven of the Canes’ last eight games, and will look to stay hot Tuesday in Nashville.
With Petr Mrazek in the crease, here is how Rod Brind’Amour’s team will line up:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams
Nino Niederreiter - Erik Haula - Martin Necas
Ryan Dzingel - Lucas Wallmark - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Jake Gardiner - Brett Pesce
Haydn Fleury - Joel Edmundson
Injuries and Scratches: Dougie Hamilton (leg), Jordan Martinook (upper body)
Editor’s note: Andy’s Behind Enemy Lines was bumped by the Gauthier trade today, so I’m running his spiel on the Predators here instead. The previews of the other two Canes opponents will run Thursday. -Brian
Despite a fairly uneven season that has seen the Nashville Predators fired former Canes bench boss Peter Laviolette, the Preds remain just three points outside of the Western Conference playoff picture. At just 8-7 since the coaching change to John Hynes, the Preds have not received the jolt they were hoping for from the swap.
Other than an injury to Ryan Ellis, the Preds have been fairly healthy to date. While captain Roman Josi has put together the finest season of his career in leading the Preds in points overwhelmingly from the blue line, the rest of the talented roster has either been simply solid or underachieved. Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, and Filip Forsberg are all accomplished scorers, and each has had a decent year, but none has had an exceptional year. The Preds have gotten along with a middle-tier offense to date, surviving with depth scoring. Despite only one player over 40 points at this juncture, they also possess 13 players with at least 20 points on the campaign.
Pekka Rinne has had an uneven season in his 14th season. His .898 save percentage is the worst of any season in his career, and he is yielding over three goals per game for the first time in his career. Juuse Saros has not done much better as he has split the playing time with Rinne. Without excellence in net, the Preds have fallen to 21st in goals against despite what has been a terrific defensive core. If the Preds are going to become a playoff team, they will have to tighten up defensively in order to gain the ground they need.
Here’s how the Preds will line up:
Viktor Arvidsson - Ryan Johansen - Mikael Granlund
Filip Forsberg - Matt Duchene - Kyle Turris
Rocco Grimaldi - Nick Bonino - Craig Smith
Calle Jarnkrok - Colton Sissons - Austin Watson
Roman Josi - Yannick Weber
Jarred Tinordi - Mattias Ekholm
Dan Hamhuis - Dante Fabbro