Paul McCann: Game Night in Smashville – “It’s a Trap!”

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Game Night in Smashville as the Central Division leading Nashville Predators have a classic “trap” game tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators welcome the Edmonton Oliers tonight for the second game of the season between these two teams. Nashville took the lid-lifter 4-1 back on October 27th and the season series finishes on Thanksgiving Night in Smashville.

Nashville comes in with an extremely hot top line, the best rookie in the game so far this season and a bit of chip on their shoulder regarding their special teams.

While their PK and PP numbers are up a bit, they are still not where this team thinks they should be. Edmonton is finishing a five game road trip tonight, they are 2-2 so far on it, but all four games have been against the Eastern Conference, dropping their first two to Philly and Boston, beating Buffalo and the New York Rangers. Edmonton has yet to post a victory against a Western Conference foe and this talented team is trying to figure out why the pieces just aren’t fitting together consistently.

Nashville, on the other hand is standing on top of the Central Division, off to the kind of start that Pred Nation was dreaming of when all of the changes occurred last summer. 9-3-2, 20 points in 14 games, a top line that consists of top line players and a healthy Pekka Rinne have added up to hockey that is fun to watch, certainly fun to cover and hard to stop five on five. Nashville has only the one home game before returning to St. Louis for a rematch of last Saturday night’s win over the Blues.

A trap game for certain. The Oilers are looking to get a win inside the conference and the Preds need to guard against focusing too much on what’s ahead. The Predators road worthy ways are not done, After St. Louis, the Preds are home for Hockey Fights Cancer Night before heading back to Canada next week for a trip to Toronto and Ottawa. The team is then home for the Thanksgiving holiday starting on Saturday 11/22 with four straight at home.

Game time is 7pm tonight, no local TV but the game is on 102.5 the Game and the Predators Radio Network. Limited tickets remain for tonight… see you at the Bridge!

Tonight’s preview from nhl.com…

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Random Notes

– Nice breakdown of the Predators so far by Willy Daunic… read it here.

– Viktor Stalberg is out for 4-6 weeks with his knee injury, the result of a knee-on-knee hit from Grand Rapids goon Brennan Evans in Stalberg’s last game of his Milwaukee conditioning assignment. Depth at forward is paying off right now.

– Expect expansion to be the hot topic as NHL officials are confirming that they have had discussions about expansion, especially with a potential ownership group in Las Vegas.

– Pressure is building in Columbus as they play Washington tonight, trying to snap an 8 game losing streak.

– When your owner is out preaching patience in the middle of a season… it’s never a good sign, but that is what is happening in Dallas as owner Tom Gaglardi is quoted in the Dallas Morning News as saying “You can’t overreact at a time like this.” That usually means an overreaction is coming. The Stars have a chance to stop their seven game slide tonight against Arizona.

– Eleven games tonight in the NHL – Wild @ Devils, Av’s @ Isles, Pens @ NYR, Jackets @ Caps, Jets @ Habs, Sharks @ Panthers, Sabres @ Blues, Oliers @ Preds, Bolts @ Hawks, Stars @ ‘Yotes, Sens @ Nucks.

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