Paul McCann: Gamenight in Smashville!

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Now that the pomp and circumstance of opening night is past both of these teams, the daily grind of the regular season begins for the Dallas Stars as they play their first road game of the season at Bridgestone Arena tonight. The Stars are looking for their first win after dropping their home opener in a shootout, the Nashville Predators are looking to build off the offensive momentum of Thursday’s third period to keep the winning mojo going.

An interesting back story line may be Jason Spezza. It was an open secret that Nashville coveted the veteran center and had a trade worked out to acquire him from the Senators, but Spezza’s contract allowed him to spurn the opportunity to come to Music City, refusing to accept the trade forcing Ottawa to look at other suitors. That ended up being the Dallas Stars, and the Predators ended up with James Neal. Both teams seem happy with how it worked out, but the results will tell the complete tale. Reality is, these guys are professionals and most of the angst is probably in the fan bases vs. in the room.

The Predators offense certainly continued to show it isn’t afraid to shoot the puck, after years of quality over quantity shooting, it was a refreshing change. Pred Nation was happy to see 37 shots on goal, but you can add another 10 shots that were blocked and another 15 attempted for a total of 62 shots. Yeah… that’ll work. Defensively, it look like a traditional Predators team, good positionally, and clogging up the passing and shooting lanes, holding the Senators to 20 shots. That type of effort will need to be there tonight against a team that has far more weapons than the Senators.

On the injury front – The Predators list Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg on the official list, but Stalberg did participate in practice yesterday and his status has been upgraded to day-to-day. The Stars list Sergei Gonchar on IR, Tyler Seguin missed practice yesterday but is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

The home team won all five meetings last season, boding well for the Preds as three of the five games this season are in Smashville. It’s the first of many “critical” Central Division showdowns as the Predators have the opportunity to put the Stars in an early season 0-2 hole, with both of their losses coming inside the division. Game time is 7pm, coverage on Fox Sports Tennessee, pregame begins at 6:30 with Mark Howard and Terry Crisp, puck drop at 7:08 with Pete Weber and Stu Grimson on the call. Radio coverage on the Predators Radio Network, 102.5 the Game is the flagship station with Willy Daunic and Brent Peterson calling the action.

See you at the Bridge!!!

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Random Notes

– Preds captain Shea Weber is quoted in The Hockey News – “Everyone talks about offense and we do need to score goals, but we also need to be better defensively.” Amen… Amen… Amen.

– An article in the Nashville Business Journal has a quote from Predators chairman Tom Ciggaran… “The economics of the franchise are the best shape they have ever been in.”

– New real updates on Evander Kane’s opening night injury, maybe something may come out at the Jet’s day of game skate this morning…

– The ownership turnstile turns again in the desert as the Arizona Coyotes are getting their second majority owner in less than a year… uhhh guys… it’s time for some stability.

– Chris Pronger is now a member of the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. The jokes just write themselves here folks…

– Is panic setting in with the Avalanche? After Thursday’s 5-0 blowout, head coach Patrick Roy is shuffling lines, players are being quoted as saying they “weren’t ready” … guys… it’s one game in 82.

– Somebody break up the Islanders! Recently acquired d-man, Johnny Boychuk had a goal and an assist in the Isle’s win over Carolina to get their season started on a good note.

– Looks like Buffalo will be hosting the 2016 draft.

– Big night in the NHL on the first Saturday of the regular season… All 30 teams are in action tonight!

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You are invited to follow me on Twitter. Search for @PredPAPaul… Not only will I be updating when I get news or updates, but we are having a bit of fun by getting your input on Gnash introductions, weigh in on Twitter and who knows, we may use your introduction for the best mascot in the NHL at the next Preds game! You can also keep up with all the goings on with SlapShot Radio by following the show on Twitter @SlapShotRadio1

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SlapShot Radio is back every Wednesday at 7pm on 102.5 the Game and the SlapShot Radio Network. Our premier, day one sponsor is back, that’s Dr. Jane Bacon at Hermitage Family and Cosmetic Dentistry … make your appointment at 615-872-7762.

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This post originally appeared on www.hockeybuzz.com and we thank them for permission to rebroadcast it here.

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