The Nashville Predators (17-10-6) looked fairly lifeless in their 4-1 loss in Chicago last night. For the second game in a row Anders Lindback failed to make saves to keep his team in the game after defensive lapses.
Pekka Rinne (8-7-4, 2.37, .918) will return in net tonight for the Preds when the Ottawa Senators (14-17-4) make their first visit in two years to Music City. Anders Lindback (9-3-2, 2.39, .922) was outstanding as a replacement during Rinne's second stint on injured reserve this year, but the time has come for Pekka to reclaim the number one slot and go on a winning streak of his own.
Tonight's game has taken on increased importance because the Predators need to halt their losing streak at two games. As I wrote earlier this week, the Preds have lost mainly in streaks this season and cannot afford another "streak" at this juncture as they have now fallen to seventh in the West.
For the second time in a week, Ottawa is another Predator opponent that spent a Preds road game day, hanging out in Nashville waiting for the Predators to return. Mike Fisher thinks he is home for the holidays in Nashville with his wife, Carrie Underwood Fisher.
Ottawa will probably go with Brian Elliott (10-10-3, 3.07, 9.02) in goal. The Sens have a balanced offensive attack with ten players in double digits in points, led by Daniel Alfredsson with 11 goals and 11 assists.
Ottawa has a decent power play and are 11th (18.9%) in the league but are weak on the penalty kill at 25th (79.3). The Preds are the opposite with a man advantage ranked 28th (14.0%) and a PK at 9th (84%).
This is the only meeting of the season between the two teams. They last met on October 22, 2009 in a wild game where the Preds broke their early season six game losing streak but it wasn't easy. The Preds lost an early 3-0 lead and were tied 4-4 with a minute left in the contest. Both teams scored in the last minute before Shea Weber won the game with a goal in overtime.
The Preds have had good luck against Eastern teams this season going 6-1-4 so this would be a good game to get back on track before the two day Christmas break. The Preds play at St. Louis on Sunday before returning home for a game against Dallas on Tuesday.
Another Predator Previews come from Chris Burton and Amanda DiPaolo.
Previews from Ottawa come from the Ottawa Citizen, The 6th Sens, Sens Chirp, Silver Seven, SensShot, and Sens Underground.
Here is our game story from last night.
Josh Cooper had his game story, notes column, and and postgame ponderings.
From the blog world reports come from Amanda DiPaolo, Mark Willoughby, Dirk Hoag (with his advances stats), and Hockey Night in Nashville.
A much happier story comes from Second City Hockey, The Sun Times, The Daily Herald, and the Chicago Tribune.
In Pred Nation...
Amanda DiPaolo has a story about the Predators' blueline success this season.
Dirk Hoag finds Santa's list and it is a good one. A couple of folks are getting a nice frosty Crosby.
Sam at PredBlog has a Jerred Smithson guide to emotions just in time for Christmas.
Colin Wilson is rocking the Euro-mullet so he says.
Steve Sullivan says last year's playoff loss hurts more than the others.
Dirk has smart readers at OnTheForecheck. One put together a graph of even strength goals per time on ice that yields a few surprises. Another fan has a holiday wish for Sergei Kostitsyn. Good stuff.
Jas Faulkner is in the holiday spirit and has her weekly Greetings from Smashville update at The Hockey Writers.
Pro Hockey News has an update on the Cincinnati Cyclones.
Around the NHL...
As promised, the Team USA for the World Juniors was announced on FaceBook.
Ryan at the RLD has his first post in his Winter Classic Series. Follow the whole thing at the link on the right.
The curse of The Hockey News struck as Pavel Datsyuk will be lost for six weeks from a hand injury on the day after he was named the top Russian player in the NHL by the publication.
PensUniverse has some serious complaints about how the Alumni game at the Winter Classic is being handled.
Rick Stephens at All Habs has an interesting Christmas story and holiday wishes for all.
'Big Country' Shawn Lavigne and Aron 'The Paperboy' Papernick of NHL Home Ice has updated the 12 Days of Jeanneret with a 2010 edition in followup to the one from several years ago. No more Maxime Afinigenov :( I do like the Kovalchuk addition. HTM also gets in on the Jib Jab Holiday wishes.
Should the Leaf's be upset about the waffle throwing incidents or embrace it?
Thanks to Michael Langlois at Vintage Leaf Memories who gave us props on his great site, Vintage Leafs Memories. It is a great site that keeps the present in perspective by looking at the past.
Congrats to Adrian Dater on a fourth printing of "Blood Feud." That is rare in the digital age.
There is big controversy in Canada about a 12 year old girl that was driven out of her youth hockey league by other parents and coaches. Here is a legal viewpoint of the incident.
Mike Brophy has a long list of presents under the tree for half the league it appears.
Odds and Ends...
This is one of the more incredible moves by Disney which has a long history of their child stars becoming massive failures in life. They have now decided that Brittany Spears is a good mentor for their upcoming stars. I guess they want to continue their string of ruining lives.
The Motorola tablet appears to have a name... Xoom.
Here is a comparison of Twitter Apps for the Droid.
Here is the first Android collectible in space. Watch the video to see his demise.
True Grit, the new Coen Brother's movie, is finally out. I hope to be able to work it into the weekend plans.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass