Saturday, January 14, 2012

Preds host high-powered Flyers tonight in Smashville

The Nashville Predators will take on the high-powered Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena. Former Predators Scott Hartnell and Kimmo Timonen will be returning to Nashville for just the second time since joining Philadelphia.

With the Flyers being an Eastern Conference opponent, they bring a bit of a different element to the game. The Predators aren't as familiar with them as they are with Western Conference teams.

"It's a little different. You don't know that much about them. Obviously, you follow them around the league and you know what kind of team they have. It's a good team, and they've been playing really well this year," said Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.

While the Predators aren't as familiar with Philadelphia as they are with other teams, preparing for them isn't really all that different from other games.

"It's not really more difficult preparing for them. Understanding them and knowing how they operate against your team is a little bit different. Usually the first period is a little more generic and then you get a feel for what they really do," said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz. "When you become familiar with teams, it's easy to understand some of their tendencies."

Philadelphia currently sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, and really have a load of offensive talent. Claude Giroux has 49 points in 38 games played this year, which is tied for second most in the league.

My player to watch for the Flyers is Jaromir Jagr. At 39 years of age, Jagr still possesses and incredible skill level. He's a big guy that is very strong on the puck. Nashville's defense will have to limit his time and space.

For Nashville, my player to watch is Shea Weber. Weber and Ryan Suter will likely see close to 30 minutes of ice time tonight, and they'll have to be very defensively sound. If the Predators are able to be defensively sound, they will be able to create opportunities in the transition game.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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