Maple Leafs-Predators Preview
After getting goals from some unlikely sources, the Nashville Predators will try to build on their highest scoring output as they continue a four-game homestand.
They could be difficult given the way James Reimer is filling in for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Predators hope to keep getting production throughout the lineup Thursday night when they go after a fourth straight victory over the Atlantic Division-worst Leafs.
After getting shut out for the first time in Saturday's 4-0 loss to St. Louis that opened this home stay, Nashville rallied from a 3-1 deficit in Tuesday's 7-5 win over Ottawa.
With Paul Gaustad (lower-body) out, Colton Sissons got the call from the AHL and scored his second career goal as a patchwork fourth line that totaled three goals and three assists.
Austin Watson had a goal and two assists, while Gabriel Bourque scored his first goal of the season while also assisting on Watson's second-period tally. The young trio hopes to keep holding things down with Gaustad day-to-day and Eric Nystrom on injured reserve.
“We're at our best if we can be in their end and cycling the puck and playing some hard minutes down there,” Watson told the team's official website. “We were fortunate to put a few in the net last game, but that's what we want to do as much as we can.”
Shea Weber, one of the team's elder statesmen, also enjoyed a memorable game with his 150th career goal and 400th point. He has a goal and three assists in his last two versus Toronto.
The Predators, 5-1-1 at home, will try to stay hot after winning for the first time in six games in which they registered at least 34 shots. They're 8-0-0 when they've finished with fewer.
The Leafs (3-8-4) rank in the bottom third of the league with 30.6 shots allowed per game after surrendering 38 on Tuesday. Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau and Jake Gardiner, however, each scored in the final eight minutes in a 3-2 road win over Dallas that snapped an 0-1-2 skid.
Parenteau will now try to extend a six-game point streak (three goals, six assists) against the Predators (9-3-2) dating to his time with Colorado.
“They beat Dallas a couple times (also 4-1 on Nov. 2); that's pretty good,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We'll make sure that we respect our opponent and their ability to win hockey games, because they can.”
Peter Holland scored on Toronto's lone power-play chance Tuesday, leaving the club 5 for 16 in those situations over the last five games. It will look to continue that trend against a Nashville team that has allowed two power-play goals apiece in its last three games.
''We're not a team that scores a lot of goals, so we got to play good defensively,'' Gardiner said. ''When we get those chances, we got to capitalize.''
Toronto's No. 1 goaltender Jonathan Bernier will miss his sixth straight start because of a lower-body injury. But Reimer has filled in nicely, going 2-1-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average.
Reimer, though, has given up six goals on 29 shots in two career meetings with the Predators. Nashville has totaled 17 goals during its three-game winning streak in this series.
Pekka Rinne, expected to start for the Predators, has given up nine goals in his last two starts and is 1-1-0 with a 3.72 GAA in three career home meetings with the Leafs.
- Austin Watson
- Colton Sissons
- Eric Nystrom
- Gabriel Bourque
- Jake Gardiner
- James Reimer
- Jonathan Bernier
- Nashville Predators
- P.A. Parenteau
- Paul Gaustad
- Pekka Rinne
- Peter Holland
- Shea Weber
- Toronto Maple Leafs