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Preview: Kraken vs. Predators

Oct 10, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Just the Facts

The Time: 5:00 PT / 8:00 ET
The Place: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
Place to Watch: Root Sports, ESPN+, Sportsnet+
Place to Listen: KJR 93.3 FM
An Opposing Viewpoint: On the Forecheck

Know Your Enemy

Happy Fat Bear Week Kraken fans. Tuesday’s loss is in the rearview, and the Nashville Predators are in the Kraken’s sights. Seattle hopes to take the victory, returning to a .500 record(1-1) and putting Nashville at 0-2, and with a 4-2 all-time record versus the Preds, the chances are decent that things play out that way.

Nashville has seen a fair amount of change this past offseason, including the arrival of new head coach Andrew Brunette, but the constant, and surely the deciding factor in the Predators’ success this year, is netminder Juuse Saros. The Finnish netminder is capable of stealing any game, and has been the model of consistency since he took the starting job over from Pekka Rinne. Last season, in spite of his team missing the playoffs, he maintained a respectable .919 save percentage.

On defence, Nashville star and blueline leader Roman Josi is back at full health after missing the final 15 games of 2021-22. Former Kraken Jeremy Lauzon remains in Nashville, along with Tyson Barrie, Ryan McDonagh, Dante Fabbro, and Luke Schenn. A respectable group of names, though the bulk of them are into their thirties.

Nashville’s top six should be able to score. Filip Forsberg, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gustav Nyquist are well known NHL talents but it was goal scoring that kept the Predators out of the post season last year and it remains to be seen if their depth can add enough goals to see playoff games.

Game Plan

Hockey is not a complicated sport. The basics of any gameplan involve outshooting and outscoring your opponent. With the goalie-dependent Predators, a high pressure attack in the first few minutes of the game could pay dividends for Seattle. Teams that have trouble with offence are at a disadvantage when you put them down early. Forced to abandon the structure that keeps games close, they often end up allowing more scoring opportunities as a result. An early season measuring stick, the Kraken need to win against teams such as this if they’re going to prove last season wasn’t a fluke.

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