After coming oh so close to extending their winning streak to 5, Ottawa looks to get back on the winning track in Music City
(19-20-6, 46 points) 6th Central Division
7:00 PM EST
TV: CBC; RADIO: TSN1200
It has been almost 2 full years since Ottawa has met the Predators (Feb/12), and more than 3 since they have visited Nashville. Ottawa won the last meeting by a score of 4-3 and also the previous meeting in Music City 2-1.
Ottawa choked away a 3-2 third period lead and lost in overtime to the Avalanche on Wednesday, a game that stopped their season high 4 game win streak. The Predators blew a lead of their own, coughing up a 2-0 first period advantage by allowing 4 to the Ducks in the second period and losing 4-3.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Mark Stone, OTT: Stone has a goal and an assist in 3 games since being recalled. If he can continue to add to the offense on a nightly basis, he will find himself a permanent place in the lineup, likely at the expense of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and Matt Kassian. If he can also jumpstart Jason Spezza in the meantime, that would be more than expected.
Mike Fisher, NSH: The former Senators fan favorite is plugging away, on pace for his usual 20 goal, 50 point season. He made some headlines this week stating that he might retire after his current contract expires after next season. This will only be the second time since he was dealt to Nashville that he faces off against some familiar faces.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. One is good, Two is better: Gaining a road point in Colorado was a good thing, but if they had hung on for 2 then they would be that much better off. Any point is good, but at this point in the season every point matters and the ones they lose will hurt.
2. Desperate Preds: Despite the very similar records, Nashville cannot afford a regulation loss in their own playoff chase. They currently sit 9 points out of a playoff spot and falling double digits behind would be a tremendous gap to overcome.
3. No Pekka: Arguably Nashville’s most important player, Pekka Rinne is still sidelined from a bacterial infection that resulted from off-season hip surgery. With him out of the lineup the Predators are not nearly as intimidating, and getting lots of pucks to the net should provide some goals.
A win over the Predators is the kind of thing they need on the road to the postseason. If they can’t win games like this on a regular basis, their quest might be in vain. They can’t control what teams around them do in the standings, but now that they are within contact of a playoff spot, they cannot afford to drop down again.