Feb 2, 2012, 4:22 PM EDT
Let’s face it: more than a decade after the Predators’ inaugural season, the words “Nashville” and “hockey” still don’t make a ton of sense. Add in those mustard yellow jerseys and it becomes increasingly difficult not to ask the, “So is this really the same league with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs and Canadiens?” question.
But yes, apparently it is, because the Nashville Predators are outplaying and outscoring just about everyone right now.
Tied with Vancouver for the second most points in the Western Conference (66), Nashville is a remarkable 13-2-0 in their last 15 games.
And according to CSNPhilly’s Tim Panaccio and Sarah Baiker, things aren’t going to bode well for the Flyers should they surrender the first goal this evening:
Allow the Preds the first goal tonight, and well, the Flyers will likely finish 0-2 against them this season.
The first loss to which they’re referring came just 19 days ago when the Flyers were downed 4-2 in Nashville. Goaltender Pekka Rinne turned aside 28 of the Flyers 30 shots in the Predators win, a game that no doubt helped him record his brilliant 1.92 GAA and .935 SV% in the month of January. Thankfully for the Flyers, Rinne will not be in goal this evening. Rather, the Flyers will attempt to do damage against backup netminder Anders Lindback, who will be making just his sixth start of the season. In an e-mail earlier this afternoon, our own Matt P. labeled this turn of events as “good.”
As for the Flyers, Ilya Bryzgalov will continue his quest to right the ship with his second straight post-All Star start this evening.
On the injury front, both Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk were held out of practice yesterday and remain sidelined indefinitely with concussions. Forward Zac Rinaldo, meanwhile, has been cleared to play, necessitating Ben Holmstrom’s re-shipping to Adirondack.
Of note, after Tuesday’s OT loss to Winnipeg, the Flyers are just 11-7-4 at home this year (so, functionally 11-11) as compared to 18-7-2 on the road. They have dropped their last three straight at the Wells Fargo Center. Can the Orange & Black give the people something to cheer about tonight, or is the pressure of sending the fans home happy perhaps getting to this young team?
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Video of coach Peter Laviolette discussing tonight’s matchup and Danny Briere on his head injury below:
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