Preview #63: As trade deadline looms, Predators host Kings Monday night
Los Angeles Kings 28-22-12
Nashville Predators 36-19-7
The NHL’s trade deadline is Monday afternoon at 2 pm CT. If the Predators make any additional moves, their roster could look very different from the team that beat the San Jose Sharks by a 6-2 score on Saturday night in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena.
Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz says any moves the team makes before Monday’s deadline is about putting a winning team on the ice. “Our leadership is strong enough that if we do add a player or two it isn’t going to throw anybody off. We are about winning. We are about putting the best hockey team on the ice. We will do it any way we need to. We recognize that at trade deadline you are going to get some players. That should force the level of competition up, which all teams want. We will see what happens after the trade deadline,” he said.
David Boclair of The City Paper confirms that Nashville has made an offer to Columbus for Rick Nash. It is unlikely that the Blue Jackets organization would be comfortable trading Nash within the division and it is less clear if Nash would even play for the Predators. Since Nash has a no-trade clause, he gets to determine for which teams he will waive the clause.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, has already made a big splash by acquiring Jeff Carter from Columbus. After rumors surfaced that the Kings were shopping captain Dustin Brown, the right wing responded by scoring a hat trick in Saturday night’s 4-0 win over Chicago. Brown also picked up an assist on the only goal of the night he didn’t score.
Monday night’s game is the last of a four-game homestand for the Predators, who have a 2-0-1 record in the first three games by beating Vancouver and San Jose and losing to St. Louis in a shootout. Nashville’s home-ice domination continues this season as the Predators are 20-7-5 at Bridgestone Arena this year, which includes going 9-0-2 in their last 11 home games.
A large part of the Predators success is goaltender Pekka Rinne. In 31 home games, Rinne is 20-6-5 with a 2.24 goals against average and a .927 save percentage. Of course, those numbers include the early tough stretch the Predators had at home to start the season when Nashville went 1-2-1 in the first four home games of the season with Rinne allowing 14 goals.
The power play is also a strong part of Nashville’s home success. In the last 11 home games, the Predators power play has gone 11 for 38, or 29 percent. Entering Sunday’s contests, Nashville also held the best power play in the League at 21.7 percent, with Vancouver second at 21.6 percent. The Canucks play Dallas on Sunday and will have an opportunity to retake the top spot.
After Monday night’s game, the Predators will head out on the road for two games before starting another homestand. Nashville plays in Carolina on Tuesday night and will take on the Southeast Division leading Florida Panthers next Saturday.