For the first time in the history of both these teams, the Lightning and Predators will face off against each other in the long-awaited Stadium Series. The game will take place in Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans of the NFL. The Predators played in the 2020 Winter Classic game against the Dallas Stars, where they lost 4-2.
Both teams revealed their Stadium Series jerseys on Twitter, with both team’s fans loving both their team’s jersey, but also the opposing team’s jersey. The Lightning have a white jersey with “BOLTS” written diagonally on the jersey like the old alternates, and a blue design at the bottom. Nashville’s jersey is a simple design like the Lightning’s, with navy blue on the shoulders and the bottom of the jersey with yellow in the middle, a three-star design in the middle of it, and “SMASHVILLE” written across.
The Lightning (33-11-6) currently sit at second in the Atlantic Division and are only three points behind the Florida Panthers with two games in hand. The Predators (30-18-4) currently sit at fourth in the Central Division and are only one point behind the Minnesota Wild, but the Wild have three games in hand.
Both these teams have a lot of similarities with each other, but also a lot of differences. Both teams have a very strong offense, with Tampa having Stamkos, Point, and Kucherov, while the Predators have Duchene, Forsberg, and Jeannot. However, the Lightning’s defense is far better in terms of depth, while the Predators aren’t as strong in that area.
Here are the top three players from both teams based on points.
Steven Stamkos: 24G 32A 56P
Victor Hedman: 11G 39A 50P
Alex Killorn: 16G 28A 44P
The Lightning’s offense is one of the best in the NHL and it’s hard to debate otherwise unless you bring Colorado and Florida into the conversation. There’s no doubt that this offense blows Nashville’s offense out of the water on paper, but what matters is how they play against each other. It’s still pretty unknown just how well Nashville will play against the Lightning’s offense.
The Lightning’s defense has been great in this second half of the season, but they need to make sure they’re stronger than ever on Saturday. Duchene, Josi, Forsberg, and Jeannot are all players that can go through any team’s defense if they make even one mistake.
Roman Josi: 14G 39A 43P
Matt Duchene: 23G 23A 46P
Filip Forsberg: 26G 18A 44P
The Predators’ offense is very underrated, with Duchene having a bounce-back year, Filip Forsberg playing out of his mind, Tanner Jeannot playing at a Calder Trophy level, and Ryan Johansen also having a bounce-back year. This is a scary offense to face off against, and with Roman Josi helping out a lot whenever he can, it just makes things harder.
The Predators’ defense has been an issue and has been since trading away Ryan Ellis. The depth they once had isn’t there and they’re relying on Josi and Mattias Ekholm to keep them in the game without Juuse Saros facing a wild number of shots. This is a defense that needs to play at 110% to stop Tampa.
Andrei Vasilevskiy (2.29 GAA, .921sv%) will start in net for the Lightning, while Juuse Saros (2.45 GAA, .924sv%) will start for Nashville. Overall, Vasilevskiy is the better goaltender but has had his rough patches this season while Saros has played very well consistently all season. This will be a great goaltending battle among two of the best in the league.
Score: 3-2 Lightning
Shots: 36 Lightning/29 Predators
Top Performer: Victor Hedman (1G 2A 3P)
Overall Performance: A+
The Lightning overall are just the better team at the moment. With that being said, however, the Predators could also win this game if they pushed hard enough, which is why we predict the score to be 3-2, with the last goal happening around the final five minutes of the game.