The Scouting Report: Nashville Predators

Friday, 15.03.2013 / 12:47 AM
Aaron Vickers  - CalgaryFlames.com (@aavickers)

CALGARY, AB – The Scotiabank Saddledome might feel like home for the Nashville Predators, set to tackle the Calgary Flames on Western night Friday.

It’s the Flames’ job to make sure they don’t feel welcome.

But coming off a 7-4 drubbing at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night, the Predators will have plenty of reason to show some spirit despite playing in the tail end of a back-to-back set against the Flames.

With half a night of rest after being yanked against the Canucks, Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne – who leads the NHL in shutouts with five this season – will be looking to rebound as well. The expected starter in Calgary continues to be one of the league’s most difficult puck stoppers.

With a grumpy Predators squad and an unsavory elite goaltender, it will be the Flames' challenge to keep Nashville down in the dumps on Western night in Calgary.

WHO’S HOT

DAVID LEGWAND

Though he’s got just five goals and 12 points in 27 games this season, Legwand is riding a four-game point streak heading into Nashville’s contest against Calgary. The 2nd overall pick from the 1998 NHL Entry Draft has struggled offensively this season after producing his best season since 2006-07 a year ago. With how he’s playing in the opponents end recently, though, Legwand may be turning the corner.

WHO’S NOT

MIKE FISHER

With just two assists in his last six games prior to scoring against Vancouver and 11 points through 27 games this season, Fisher has struggled in his second full season with the offensively starved Predators. Still, the 32-year-old is one of Nashville’s most relied on players, leading all forwards in ice time this season seeing nearly 20 minutes of action each game. He’s been one of the team’s best at even strength too, as his plus-5 rating will attest to.

THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

GABRIEL BOURQUE

The Predators’ goal scoring leader with eight on the season, the 22-year-old Bourque has already eclipsed his career-high of seven set in 43 games last season. The former fifth round pick has four of his goals in the last six games as he sees his ice time continue to rise under coach Barry Trotz.

SHEA WEBER

One of the game’s premier rearguards, Weber is adjusting to life without former running mate Ryan Suter, who signed a 13-year, $98 million contract with the Minnesota Wild in the offseason. The 27-year-old defenseman has four goals and his 14 points on the season are the second-highest total for the Predators this year.

RYAN ELLIS

The highest-scoring defenseman in World Junior Championship history, Ellis is slowly making his mark at the pro level. The 22-year-old is in just his second season of professional hockey, but seems to have found a home in Nashville, playing in all 27 games for the Predators this season.

BY THE NUMBERS

Nashville’s Record This Season: 11-10-6 (10th in Western Conference)

Nashville’s Record Last Season: 48-26-8 (4th in Western Conference)

Calgary’s Record This Season: 10-11-4 (14th in Western Conference)

Calgary’s Record vs. Nashville Last Year: 1-3-0

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