Preds fans

Preds fans have been packing Bridgestone Arena


The Nashville Predators saw a franchise-record streak come to an end last Thursday when the Colorado Avalanche came to town. After eight straight sellouts, a few hundred seats at Bridgestone Arena sat empty.

Not to worry though – two nights later, the place was packed again for the Flyers.

Saturday the Blackhawks are the visitors, so you can probably chalk up another full house.

Meanwhile, the players have taken notice of the surging attendance.

“Oh, it’s great,” Preds forward Patric Hornqvist said last week. “It’s always more fun. There’s lots of people in the building. Yeah, I think this town is starting to pick up hockey hockey-wise. You get recognized more and more in the streets and everybody likes to talk about hockey. Good for us, good for the fans and great for the owners. Yeah, it’s fun.”

The Preds are averaging 16,653 per game (97.3% capacity) and on pace to break their single-season attendance record.

Two seasons ago, they averaged 14,979.

In 2002-03, they finished dead last in the NHL, averaging 13,228.

Today the team announced that – “due to overwhelming demand and growing ticket lines” – a raffle would be introduced to allocate the limited supply of “Day of Game” tickets that go for $10.

Of course, all the good attendance news heaps more and more pressure on general manager David Poile to get Ryan Suter and Shea Weber locked up for the long term. The Preds finally have momentum in the Nashville sports market. But lose their two best players and who knows if the fans will keep packing the place.

Video: Pekka Rinne’s zero-margin-of-error stick save

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Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.

Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.

You can also see it up close via this GIF:

Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:

At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
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Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks