February 25 — Was He Worth It & Stadium Series Sneak Peek

Yesterday’s NHL Scores

Last Night’s News 📰

BACK IN ACTION: Dougie Hamilton of the New Jersey Devils and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins were back on the ice on Thursday night. Hamilton returned from a broken jaw that kept him sidelined for 17 games, while his former teammate was back with the Bruins after serving a six-game suspension for roughing Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry up with his stick.

PRAISE FOR PEKKA: Dubbed as the “best Pred ever” by Nashville Predators president Sean Henry, Pekka Rinne was honored for his work on and off the ice when his number was retired to the rafters in Bridgestone Arena last night. Nashville also announced the team is erecting a bronze statue of Rinne outside the arena he called home for 15 seasons. 

CHARA CLIPS CHELIOS: Zdeno Chara passed Chris Chelios for most NHL games played by a defenseman on Thursday, skating in his 1,652nd contest. Chara shared his milestone night with his teammate, Zach Parise, who notched his 400th career goal but got overshadowed by a shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. 

PRODUCING IN PAIRS: Jesper Bratt, Bo Horvat, J.T. Miller, Elias Pettersson, Jake DeBrusk, and Auston Matthews each scored a pair of goals in their respective wins last night, led by Matthews tallying his league-leading 36th marker on the season. Get caught up from last night’s action here.

Friday Favorites

Let’s look back at our favorite moments of the week.

Gio Returns to Calgary

Fans of the red-hot Calgary Flames have plenty of reasons to be solely focused on the present right now, but Saturday night offered a chance to reflect with long-time captain Mark Giordano back at the Saddledome for the first time since joining the Seattle Kraken. Unsurprisingly, after 15 seasons in Calgary, the veteran blueliner was greeted with an emotional video tribute and a well-deserved lengthy standing ovation.

Olympic Firsts

When the United States and Canada both fell by the wayside in the men’s Olympic quarter-finals, it was pretty clear that the podium might look a little different in Beijing. That accurately came to pass, as Finland stunned ROC 2-1 to win the country’s first gold medal, and Slovakia rode teenage sensation Juraj Slafkovský to its first medal in Olympic hockey history. Although it may not seem optimistic for North Americans, stronger international competition is a good thing for the sport.

NHLers Are Just Like Us!

Midway through the second period in the Seattle Kraken at Vancouver Canucks game on Monday night, six players lost sight of the puck during a board battle in the Canucks’ defensive zone. Six! In a moment that made NHL players look like beer leaguers, three players from each team lost the puck as they battled in the corner and didn’t find it again until Travis Hamonic and Matthew Highmore were completing a two-on-two in the Kraken zone. It was a bizarre moment that reminded fans that hockey players are also human. 

2022 NHL Stadium Series Primer

The 34th outdoor game in NHL history takes place on Saturday when the Nashville Predators host the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nissan Stadium, home of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans. It is the 11th installment of the NHL’s Stadium Series, which began in 2015-16. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST and is on TNT, Sportsnet 360, and TVA Sports 2. Here is a preview of the NHL’s second of three outdoor events during the 2021-22 season.

Weather Forecast

Nashville has seen plenty of rain and temperatures in the mid-60s this week, providing a challenge for the crew in charge of preparing the ice. However, they have been able to maintain it, so it should be ready to go for tomorrow. The forecast for Saturday in Nashville is overcast with a high in the 50s and a low in the 30s. Luckily for the teams, crew, and fans, there is no rain or snow in the forecast, and the temperatures won’t be as frigid as in Minnesota during the Winter Classic.

Scheduled Entertainment

The entertainment for Saturday’s event is music-heavy, particularly of the country variety, something that should come as a surprise to nobody, seeing as the event is in Nashville, the epicenter of country music.

Walker Hayes will headline a pregame concert sponsored by TikTok, Dustin Lynch will perform as the players take the ice, Jessie James Decker will sing the National Anthem, and Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley will play during the first intermission. There will also be a house band, the Stadium Biscuits, who will play throughout the game, accompanied by other acts.

Team Matchup

Saturday night will be the first of two times the Predators and Lightning meet this season after the teams last played on Oct. 2, 2021, in a preseason contest. Last season, they saw each other eight times as members of the realigned Central Division, with Tampa winning six games to Nashville’s two.

So far this season, the Predators are 30-18-4 and currently reside in the top Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Nashville is only three points behind the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division and remains five points ahead of the Edmonton Oilers, Dallas Stars, and Anaheim Ducks in the Wild Card race. Meanwhile, the Lightning sit at 33-11-6 on the season, three points behind the Florida Panthers for first in the Atlantic Division.

Nashville has appeared in one previous outdoor game. The Predators took part in the 2020 Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, losing 4-2 to the host Stars. Tampa Bay has never played in an outdoor game. However, the team has a couple of players who have experience in such an event.

Lightning forward Pat Maroon was a member of the Ducks when they beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-0 at Dodger Stadium in the 2014 Stadium Series and was on the Edmonton Oilers when they defeated the Winnipeg Jets, also 3-0, at Investors Group Field at the 2016 NHL Heritage Classic.

Offseason acquisition Corey Perry was a teammate of Maroon in 2014 and opened the scoring in Anaheim’s win in L.A. He also played for the Stars when they faced Nashville in 2020, although he only logged 2 minutes and 44 seconds, getting ejected for elbowing former Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis.

Was He Worth It: The 2021 Free Agent Class

On Thursday night, the New Jersey Devils shocked the Pittsburgh Penguins 6-1, but the bigger story for the club was the return of Dougie Hamilton after missing 17 games with a broken jaw. New Jersey would love its big-ticket free-agent acquisition to finish the season on a high note after his slow start (20 points in 31 games). Therefore, helping the team distance itself from the bottom of the Metropolitan Division standings (the Devils are currently one point up on the basement-dwelling Philadelphia Flyers) would be great.

Hamilton’s return got us thinking about last summer’s free-agent class and how they’ve fared now that sample sizes are no longer small. Let’s check in on some of the biggest free-agent names to change addresses last summer.

Zach Hyman, Edmonton Oilers – 7 Years, $38.5 Million

Just as he did over six years in Toronto, Zach Hyman has quickly endeared himself to the Edmonton Oilers’ faithful with his grit and hustle coupled with a surprise scoring touch. Hyman is headed towards career highs in goals and points, delivering value while benefiting from riding shotgun alongside Connor McDavid.

Phillip Danault, Los Angeles Kings – 6 Years, $33 Million

When you look at the struggles of the Montreal Canadiens this season and the surprising success of the Los Angeles Kings, there stands one common element: Phillip Danault. Danault left for California in free agency after six years in Montreal, altering the fortunes of both clubs. The 29-year-old’s two-way play and solid presence as a No. 2 center have been as impactful for the Kings as they have been in need for the Habs.

Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken – 6 Years, $35.4 Million

Predictably, moving from the Stanley Cup-contending Colorado Avalanche to the lowly expansion Seattle Kraken has harmed goaltender Philipp Grubauer’s stats. After a Vezina nomination a year ago, Grubauer has allowed an additional goal per game on average and has seen his save percentage drop 34 points.

Blake Coleman, Calgary Flames – 6 Years, $29.4 Million

Ten goals and 11 assists in 48 games isn’t horrible production per se, but you get the sense that we haven’t seen the best of Blake Coleman this season, which should be an intriguing notion for fans of the Pacific Division-leading Calgary Flames. A nearly $30 million commitment seems pricey when considering the 30-year-old’s numbers to date. However, the two-time Stanley Cup champion signed—at least partly—for how he raises his game in the postseason, a place he is well-positioned to find himself this spring.

NHL Standings

NHL’s Leading Scorers

Today’s NHL Schedule

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