The Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators both will try to bounce back from recent losses when they meet Saturday afternoon in Music City.
Ottawa has lost back-to-back games, including a 4-3 overtime setback to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
In the loss to Dallas, Ottawa had a late lead but allowed a game-tying goal from defenseman Nils Lundkvist with 5:06 remaining. In overtime, a Senators turnover in their own defensive zone led to a game-winning goal for the Stars’ Tyler Seguin.
“Down 2-0 early, and not a couple of great goals (against), but stayed with it and battled,” Senators coach D.J. Smith said. “I thought we played a really good game. To lose that way in overtime, it hurts, but in saying that, that’s a really good team and we had all kinds of opportunities to win.”
Smith’s comments about the Senators battling back from an early 2-0 were echoed in the locker room.
“We bounced back right away and we answered the bell,” defenseman Thomas Chabot said. “I mean, it could’ve easily gone the other way. … Everybody stepped up their game and we came right back in the game and we made it a game.”
And at least Ottawa got a point in that loss to Dallas. In their previous game, the Senators were dispatched 5-2 by the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
Nashville had a rough time finishing on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Predators had an edge in shots, 36-33, but couldn’t muster enough against Lightning backup goalie Brian Elliott.
“The game was in the balance (at) 2-2,” Nashville coach John Hynes said. “We gave up an odd-man rush and we turned the puck over. We didn’t have the attention to detail in the third period.”
Before the loss to Tampa Bay, the Predators had started December strong with a pair of four-goal wins against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.
Filip Forsberg is leading Nashville with 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) in 24 games this season. Matt Duchene (6 goals, 15 assists) and captain Roman Josi (6 goals, 14 assists) also recently reached the 20-point marker.
Senators captain Brady Tkachuk leads his team with 30 points (12 goals, 18 assists) in 26 games, while Tim Stutzle (10 goals, 17 assists), Claude Giroux (11 goals, 12 assists), Alex DeBrincat (six goals, 15 assists), and Drake Batherson (six goals, 15 assists) are also 20-point players for an at-times exciting Ottawa squad.
In goal, the Predators are expected to turn back to Juuse Saros, who with a .905 save percentage is still trying to establish some consistency in his game.
Anton Forsberg and Cam Talbot have split the net for Ottawa this season, with Talbot likely in line to start against the Predators.
Nashville will be without defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who was placed on injured reserve this week with an upper-body injury.
McDonagh is traveling with the team despite being injured, and was honored with a video tribute on Thursday against Tampa Bay. The video highlighted the time he spent with the Lightning, winning two Stanley Cups, before being traded to Nashville in the offseason.
–Field Level Media