The streaking Nashville Predators (10-8-1) will face the Atlantic Division leading New Jersey (14-5-0) Devils at the Sommet Center tonight in what should be an exciting inter-conference match.
The Predators are coming off a hard fought Tuesday night 4-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks in a game that could be labeled "clock operator-gate" after a couple of long clock resets in the final minute left Barry Trotz fuming after the game.
The Devils suffered a 3-2 loss in Philadelphia on Monday night that was their first road loss of the year after nine straight wins away from the Prudential Center. It was also broke their eight game win streak.
The Predators have really gelled in the last few games with all four lines starting to come together and contributing. In Tuesday's game against the Sharks in the first period the Preds had 14 shots by 14 different players.
Steve Sullivan seems to be coming out of his early season scoring funk as he has had three goals in the last two games including two on the power play. David Legwand and Joel Ward each had a goal and two assists in the last outing to help balance the scoring among lines. The Preds are 7-0-0 in games where Ward has a point.
Pekka Rinne is one of the leagues hottest goalies at this juncture. With Tuesdays 29 save performance, Pekka is 7-1 in his last eight games. Since October 28, Rinne has two shut outs, a .940 save percentage, and a 1.51 goals against average.
At the other end of the ice, Marty Brodeur is 12-5 and is on the verge of holding every NHL Goalie record. His next shut-out will time him with Terry Sawchuck's record of 103. Hopefully it will not be tonight. He is 13 games shy of tying Patrick Roy for the most games ever played and is only 183 minutes short of passing Roy for that record too.
Although Nashville's power play is 28th in the league (13.7%) overall, the Preds are 9 for 46 (19.6%) in the last 11 games . The Preds are 8-0 when scoring on the PP. The Devils are 13th at 20.8%.
The Devils and Preds have had an odd series history. The teams have only met 13 times and the road team has won 10 of the contests. Last year, the Devils won in Nashville 3-1 in the last game before the all-star break. The Devils are 6-1 at the Sommet Center.
The Devs are one of three teams (Atlanta and Florida are the others) from the East that the Preds play twice as the teams will meet again on February 12 in New Jersey.
After tonight's game, the Predators will wrap up the homestand against division rivals, Columbus and Detroit on Saturday and Monday, respectively. Monday's game will have a special 6 p.m. start due to it being on Versus (sorry DirectTV customers).
In Pred Nation...
@stackiii was yesterday's winner of free tickets from POTG. Keep reading POTG and following on Twitter. We got several more to give away!
Season ticket holders on the 20/20 plan should be looking for an email advising them how to pick up third third jersey this Saturday or Monday. It appears the thirds will be worn by the team on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Jim Diamond discusses the Predators improving penalty kill unit at the Examiner.
Bryan Mullen discusses tonight's game being a "statement" game. The Preds also give their respect to Marty Brodeur in his notes column.
David Boclair points to the improving power play unit at The City Paper.
Puck Daddy jumped into the middle of "clock operator-gate" yesterday with this humorous piece.
Ryan Ellis was named captain of Team OHL in the Subway Super Series that begins today.
NJ.com has a story on Patrik Elias' recovery from recent surgeries as the Devils prepare for tonight's game. Tom Gulitti has a good piece about Zach Parise at North Jersey.com.
In Lou We Trust has a preview of tonight's game from the Devil's perspective.
David Pollak has a notes piece as he left town yesterday that included Barry Trotz's lunch reccomendations.
The View from 111 and Section 303 have their final say on Tuesday's win over San Jose.
Ok, this is weird. The Preds have "highlights" of crowd shots from the megatron from Tuesday's game. It appears that it was mostly during the intermission and it has an odd mix of live music and the radio broadcast as a soundtrack. Any thoughts?
Around the NHL...
Abel to Yzerman has a commentary and video of the worst call of the year from last night's Wings-Stars game. After watching the video, there is no question of how horrible the call actually was.
Mirtle takes a look at injuries in the NHL currently and the fact that over 10% of the teams cap space is currently unable to play. The Yahoo injury list is really impressive.
Inside Hockey's Devils Correspondent Michelle Kenneth is running a 21 days of Shanahan series to commemorate Shanny's 21 years in the NHL.
The Hockey News takes a look at the growing number of 18 and 19 year olds playing in the NHL and the successes and failures of the trend.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass