LGD: Don’t Pred On Me

Pekka Rinne will probably win the Vezina.

Filip Forsberg will probably win the Calder.

These are two very good players who are making the Nashville Predators a very good hockey right now. Throw in James Neal who is proving he can still put up a decent number of points without Malkin, Mike Ribiero, who is proving that you don’t need to be likeable to be good at hockey, and a very good blueline and the Predators are winning hockey games despite being near the bottom of the league last year. 

The Leafs on the other hand are coming off the most embarrassing loss imaginable, have lost their last two, and most importantly are dealing with Phil Kessel not being liked by the media.

The Leafs 

The Leafs seem to be treating the weekend as anomaly after strong results in the previous week and no changes have been made to the lineup. Booth and Kozun have begun practicing, and we are nearing the expected return of Joffrey Lupul as well. Hopefully this sparks some ambitious play from the Leafs as a number of them could be replaced within the week.

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

van Riemsdyk – Bozak – Kessel

Winnik – Kadri – Clarkson

Komarov – Holland – Santorelli

Panik – Smith – Leivo

Phaneuf – Franson

Gardiner – Polak

Rielly – Robidas

The Preds

The Predators seem to have a collection of players I forgot were in the league. I thought Volchenkov went to the KHL, and Olli Jokinen retired. Nope. Nashville. Derek Roy, Erik Nystrom, Matt Cullen also apparently still play hockey. The Preds are the team that every sportswriter has written about since the beginning of time. A bunch of high performing young stars who are insulated by veteran leaders (and whatever you’d call Ribeiro)

Projected Lines via Daily Faceoff

Forsberg – ribdive– Neal

Wilson – Jarnkrok – Smith

Cullen – Jokinen – Roy

Nystrom – Gaustad – Beck

Josi – Weber

Volchenkov – Jones

Ekholm – Ellis

Starting Goaltenders

 

vs. 

What to Watch For

  • This is probably the only time you’ll care to watch the Predators play this season, make it count.
  • Be thankful the Preds aren’t wearing their awful yellow sweaters
  • Pre-game, Intermission, and Post game coverage of Phil Kessel’s unwillingness to talk to the media
  • Reflect on how if the Preds didn’t have Mike Ribeiro you’d probably really like this team
  • James Neal elbowing someone
  • This is a good opportunity to rehash old Brett Lebda feelings