Anders Lindback and the high flying Nashville Predators (14-8-6) face the lowly New York Islanders (5-17-5) tonight at the Bridgestone Arena in what could be the ultimate trap game for the Preds.
The Predators are 9-3-3 in their last 15 games and are 6-1-5 at home. The Islanders have lost 19 of their last 20 with the only win coming against the almost as miserable New Jersey Devils. On Wednesday, the rival San Jose Sharks come to town so it would be easy for the Preds to look past the Islanders.
Barry Trotz is well aware of the “trap” nature of tonight’s game. I asked him about it after Saturday’s game.
“I talked to the players before the game and I talked to them after the game about planning our week. It is a trap game,” he said. “We’re playing teams that we don’t have a lot of familiarity with. We’re playing teams, that if you look in the standings aren’t as high as some of the teams we’ve been playing lately so they are trap games.
“At the same time those are games that you want to have. You can’t let people off the hook. Those two points are just as important as two points in Detroit. San Jose or some place like that. We’ve got to be point collectors right now and make this place a hard place to come get points. If we do that then we’ve done our job.”
The Predators are coming off of a 3-0 win over the Florida Panthers while the Islander lost 6-5 to Atlanta on Saturday at home in a game where 1,100 Quebec Nordiques fans showed up to protest that they have been without an NHL team for 15 years since their team moved to Colorado. Atlanta and the Islanders have two of the worst attendance records in the league so they made their point.
The Predators hold an 8-3-2 advantage in the all time series against the Islanders. The Isles have not won in Nashville since April 11, 2002 when current GM Garth Snow was in goal.
The last meeting between the Preds and Isles was on Long Island on February 9, 2010 which was a heart breaker for the Predators when the Islanders scored with 12 seconds remaining to force overtime. The Preds lost in the shootout 4-3.
It was announced on Sunday that David Legwand would miss tonight’s game and probably not play for the rest of the week. The Islanders injury list is too long to mention and has been a primary factor for their season heading down the tubes after they were primed to try to compete for a playoff spot with the team they assembled in training camp.
Anders Lindback will most likely be in goal for the Predators after he collected his first NHL shut out on Saturday. In four starts since Pekka Rinne went out, Lindback is 3-0-1 and has stopped 112 of 119 shots that he has faced. Rick DiPietro is probable in goal for the Isles.