Saturday, October 15, 2011

Nashville to face unfamiliar foe in Devils

The Nashville Predators will be trying to erase the debacle of last Thursday night's game against Phoenix as they take on the New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

"We've just got to be better in all aspects. We've got to work harder and play well within our system. If we can do that, we're going to be ok," said Predators forward Cal O'Reilly.

Nashville has a small case of the injury bug going into the game against the Devils. Mike Fisher, Francis Bouillon and Martin Erat are all out. Patric Hornqvist is a game time decision. The Predators will have to get contributions from everyone if they want to contribute a sufficient amount of offense.

New Jersey defeated the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout on Thursday night. Legendary goaltender Martin Brodeur left Thursday night's game with an upper body injury and will not be starting the game against Nashville. Johan Hedberg will make the start for the Devils. Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise are two stars that will have the chance score every time they touch the puck.

Since the Devils play in the Eastern Conference, the Predators aren't as familiar with them as they are with other teams. That can potentially present challenges for them in their preparation.

"When you see a team that you don't play a lot, you obviously don't know them as well. But we know the players that they have, and we've watched highlights and video on them. They're a highly skilled team and they have a lot of speed. It's going to be a good challenge for us," O'Reilly said.

This will be the second home game of the year for the Predators. They are hoping for a much better result against New Jersey than they had against Phoenix. The Predators take pride in playing in front of their home town crowd.

"We want to give them a win. We didn't on opening night so we owe them that tonight. We're want to come in here with a better 60 minute effort and get two points," O'Reilly said.

My player to watch for the New Jersey Devils is Johan Hedberg. He's a backup goalie with a fair bit of experience. He's not a pushover by any means, and I expect him to play a good game in net for the Devils.

For Nashville, my player to watch is David Legwand. Legwand has 7 points in three games this season, but has lacked the defensive presence that he normally has. Barry Trotz is looking for more of a complete game out of him against the Devils.