The Nashville Predators are set to do battle with the Dallas Stars tonight in what is expected to be a raucous Bridgestone Arena. The Preds (-150) check in as the favorite with the Stars playing in the ladder matchup of a back-to-back after downing the Winnipeg Jets in overtime last night.
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The Bet: Nashville Predators moneyline (-150)
The Predators (60 points) find themselves just ahead of the Stars (56) in the Central Division standings. While it is certainly a pivotal game for both teams as the two jockey for playoff positioning, Nashville has added motivation this evening.
Former Predators goalie Pekka Rinne will have his jersey retirement celebration before the game. Rinne spent 15 years in the NHL with the Predators. The two-time All Star and 2018 Vezina winner was the face of the franchise during his time in Nashville. Beyond his success on the ice, Rinne was known to be one of the nicest people to ever take the ice for the Predators, which is part of what makes him the most beloved Pred in the franchise’s history.
However, there is still a game to be played on the ice.
The Preds are coming off a dramatic victory on the road against the Florida Panthers, where backup goalie David Rittich received the starting nod. The Predators were able to capitalize while Vezina contender Juuse Saros was able to get some extra rest winning by the score of 6-4.
Juuse Saros said he went over to Pekka Rinne's place on Sunday to spend some time together. Saros says he misses seeing Rinne every day, and in that moment, "I wish he would stay [in Nashville] a little bit longer." #Preds— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) February 24, 2022
Rest is not a luxury the Stars have been able to afford over the last 24 hours. After their overtime win against Winnipeg, inclement weather prevented Dallas from making the flight to Nashville last night. In fact, the Stars did not arrive to Nashville until 2pm the day of the game, making for a quick turnaround with a 7:30pm puck drop on the horizon.
Stars planned on flying out to Nashville tonight but were unable to due to the weather situation. They'll fly out to Nashville tomorrow at 2pm, puck drop at 7:30 to play the second game of a back-to-back.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) February 24, 2022
With the Stadium Series matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, it would be easy for the Preds to look past the Stars as the team gears up for the first-ever outdoor hockey game played at Nissan Stadium. However, Rinne’s No. 35 will be the first jersey retired in Nashville Predators franchise history making this evening a night Preds fans will remember for a long time. It is a safe bet to expect the gold sweaters to put on a show for their former leader.
Featured image via Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports