On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators faced off against the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena.

Nashville looked to put together a dominant performance against a struggling Ducks team.

The 1st period seemed to be dominated by Anaheim. They were able to come out and match the Predators physicality and hold Nashville to a limited amount of shots.

The 2nd and 3rd period as a whole was a different story. The Preds were able to get three goals  in the 2nd period by Eric Nystrom (3:40), Ryan Ellis (12:47), and Mike Ribeiro (17:00).

This period of Thursday’s game was by far the best period that the Preds have played all year.

Nashville would continue their dominance during the 3rd period with two more goals, Mattias Ekholm at 3:03 and a PPG by Colin Wilson at 18:18. In between these goals by Nashville, the Ducks were able to get one goal, a power-play goal by Jiri Sekac at 12:15.

With a 5-1 victory, the Preds look to continue their early-season success as they take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena tonight.

In their last outing, the Penguins  loss to the Dallas Stars 4-1.

Keys to Watch

Amongst the Elite

Is it time for the Nashville Predators to be considered one of the elite teams/organizations in the NHL? I believe that the time is now. There is only a handful of teams right now, if any, in the NHL that are playing better than the Nashville Predators.  The organization has an outstanding AHL team in the Milwaukee Admirals, plenty of talent from the first line to the fourth line, an All-World goaltender in Pekka Rinne, and elite defenseman in Shea Weber and Roman Josi.  Now is the time for this organization to take the leap from its current standing to the tops of the NHL. The leadership is there. The players are there. Only time will tell if they can make that jump.

Panic in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Penguins were the talk of the off-season in the National Hockey League.  With the acquisition of Phil Kessel,  Pittsburgh was the favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference with extreme dominance. After starting 3-4-0,  the Penguins have made the determination to switch out the lines for tonight’s match up. Former Nashville Predator Patric Hornqvist has moved to the 1st line with Sidney Crosby and Pascal Dupuis. Kessel has moved to the 2nd line with Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Plotnikov. Pittsburgh is looking to try anything to get more production out of their first two lines.  They are currently ranked 29th in the NHL with 11 goals on the season. With as much money as they have spent, they’re wanting the most bang for the buck.

Defensive Struggle

Tonight’s match up will be a showing of two of the best teams in the NHL on the defensive side. Currently, the Pittsburgh Penguins (4th) have only allowed 15 goals on the season, where the Preds (3rd) have only allowed 14 goals on the season. It seems that Pekka Rinne will be in net against Marc Andre Fleury.  Will this matchup be about the goalies? Not completely. You have to look at the defense in front of both of the netminders. The winner of this match up will be the team that can dominate in front of their goalies.

Be sure to catch all of the action tonight when Nashville welcomes in the Penguins. If you can’t make it out to the arena, Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game.