The last time Alexander Radulov played a hockey game in Nashville was on April 20th, 2008. The Predators lost 3-0 in game six of the Western Conference quarterfinals to be eliminated from the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings.
Saturday night, Radulov will make his home season debut, almost four years later, when the Predators host the Winnipeg Jets. The Nizhni Tagil native will be making his Bridgestone Arena debut in front of a sold out crowd at a special 6 pm start time.
Radulov is excited to play on Saturday night.
“I heard this is a good building to play in because people love hockey here. It is going to be jammed packed tonight. I’m excited for that,” Radulov said.
Playing on a line with David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist, Radulov made his season debut on Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Though Radulov said it was hard to get into the game and he was tired after it, the 25 year old still managed to score Nashville’s lone goal.
“With the smaller ice surface and the game being a little bit different, I just needed some time to adjust. It is almost 10 hours time difference, but I am not looking for excuses. I just need to get on top of my game and help my teammates. At the end of the game, I felt a little bit tired. Other than that, I was ok. The game and the system is a little bit different than when I played in Russia,” he said.
The Radulov, Legwand and Horqnvist line connected for nine shots on goal. Radulov also saw 1:42 of power play time playing with Legwand and Andrei Kostitsyn. Despite over 15 minutes of ice time and his first tally back in the NHL, Radulov says his line needs more time to adjust to each other on the ice.
“We just played one game. It is hard to say anything about [the line]. Give us a couple more games and we will go from there. We just need some games to adjust. It is a completely new line. We need more time to understand each other better,” he explained.
The Predators have a 6-6-3 record against the Jets organization in 15 games played. At Bridgestone Arena, Nashville is 4-1-3 in 8 games. The Predators will try to get gain ground over Chicago who is not in action tonight. The Predators will visit the Blackhawks on Sunday night.