Point of view from a Predators blogger
Dirk from On the Forecheck, a Nashville blog, answered some questions about the Predators.
Q: Give us a status report on Nashville. This is the third time these two teams have played this month but the first time in Nashville. The teams haven't played, though, since Oct. 14. How have the Predators looked since then?
A: Since that blowout loss to the Stars, the Preds have settled down defensively, and are getting enough offense to keep their heads above water. They played .500 hockey on a tough 5-game road trip, and just shut out the Blackhawks on home ice Thursday night, so things are looking brighter. What fans are really looking forward to is a healthy lineup, as Jason Arnott is expected to miss another week with an arm injury.
Q: J.P. Dumont continues to lead this team in points. What makes him so effective?
A: He's a very underrated playmaker, with good vision in the offensive zone, and a strong presence along the boards. The one thing I'd like to see is for him to shoot more; too often he defers to his linemates.
Q: How has the top line played the last few weeks?
A: As soon as we figure out what the top line is around here, I'll let you know. With Arnott out, the forward lines have been constantly juggled in an attempt to squeeze any goals possible out of the group.
Q: Nashville is last in the NHL on the power play. Why has that unit struggled so much?
A: The main accusation from fans is that the Preds tend to focus on creating the perfect setup, rather than firing the puck on net often and working for rebounds and tips. Shea Weber has an incredible shot from the point, but when it's obvious that getting him set up is the plan, teams can deny that option.
Q: How has the penalty kill unit looked?
A: The PK has been better of late, and in fact Nashville has scored a shorthanded goal in each of the last two games. They've got a ways to go before they get back to the level that the Predators are used to, but progress is being made.
Q: Which goalie will the Stars see tonight and how have the goalies performed this season?
Q: Any injury updates?
Q: Which players should Stars fans keep a close eye on Saturday night?
A: The combination of Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist has been a force for the last few games, and have been creating dangerous chances consistently. Hornqvist is developing into a crease-crashing menace, while Wilson is a playmaker who uses his size and strength to open up opportunities.
Q: Anything else we should know about the Predators?
A: Another promising young player to keep an eye on is Cody Franson, a 6-5 defenseman who is getting lots of power play time; he is a savvy puck mover, and gets quick shots through to the net very well from the point. Used in the right situations, he could make a nice impact for Nashville.