The NHL’s annual training camp series begins Thursday night, with the opening game against the Nashville Predators on Thursday, Oct. 6.
The game, which is broadcast on NBC Sports Network (NHLN), is the first of three in the regular season and the first game to air on NBCSN in 2017.NHL.com’s NHL Insider will have live coverage of the Predators-Flyers series.
Check out our full roster for Thursday night’s game.
Here are five things to know heading into Thursday’s game between the Nashville, Florida Panthers and Anaheim Ducks.1.
How does the Preds’ roster look?
The Preds are coming off their second-straight win, and they’ve scored four goals or more in eight straight games.
That includes three goals in the past four games.
But they’re missing two of their top two defensemen (David Perron and Justin Faulk) for at least two weeks.
The team also has one goalie out with an upper-body injury.
The lineup is expected to be similar to last year’s, with Nashville’s top-four forwards — Evgeni Malkin, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Ribey — and defensemen Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Jyrki Jokipakka — all expected to play.2.
Is the Predators going to be a hard-nosed, physical team?
The Predators’ offense is very similar to what they had last year.
They scored six goals against Detroit, three more than the Predators had last season.
And they had 13 shots on goal against the Lightning.
But the Predators’ power play has been effective, with one of the five top units (Josi-Ryan, Kucherov-Jokinen, Perron-Perron, Perry-Perry) generating 30 or more shots.
The top unit (Jokipac-Jokimpakka) has a 21.5 percent success rate on the power play, third-best in the league.
They’re also leading the league in power play goals with 10, trailing only the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings.3.
What are the Panthers doing well this year?
The Panthers are coming from a 2-8-1 stretch to win 10 of their last 12 games.
They won their last six at home, including a 5-1 win over the Nashville Ducks on Oct. 3.
They also won five of their first six games at home.
Cam Ward and David Pastrnak are in the top six among defensemen with 30 or better scoring chances and have combined for 14 power-play points (two goals, eight assists).
Ward also has the league’s highest plus-minus (+10).
The Panthers have won two of three overall games against the Predators.
They have won their past four road games (including a 3-2 win at Florida in Week 5).
They also have won three of their past five at home (including 3-1 loss at Anaheim in Week 3).
The Predators have not won in Nashville since a 6-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Feb. 14, 2007.
They haven’t won in Florida since a 5/6 loss on Dec. 13, 2009.4.
How good are the Florida Panthers?
Florida’s offense ranks fourth in the NHL with 27.4 percent of its goals scored coming from the power-up.
The Panthers have scored four power-game goals in their past six games, including two in the first period of a 3:09 span to open the season.
That included a 2:05 span to start the third period on Oct, 14 against the Edmonton Oilers.
The third period included a goal from Florida’s Cam Ward in the third minute of the period.
Florida has scored nine power-games in its past nine games, tied for the league lead.5.
Who’s on the rise in Florida?
Defenseman Kevin Connauton (26 goals, 20 assists) is back after missing two games with a concussion.
Defensemen Mattias Ekholm (25 goals, 14 assists) and Michael Del Zotto (21 goals, 18 assists) have also missed time with injuries.
Goalie Cam Ward (26 wins, 17 shutouts) is expected back on Saturday.