For the last two games, Nashville Predators forwards Cody Glass and Kiefer Sherwood have been skating together on the second line.
The duo hasn’t recorded any points so far, and head coach Andrew Brunette decided to shake things up by healthy scratching the line’s third member, Luke Evangelista, ahead of Tuesday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
The 21-year-old forward prospect in Evangelista will serve his first healthy scratch against the Colorado Avalanche after Brunette opted to sit the Canadian. Forward Liam Foudy draws back in after missing Nashville’s game against Chicago.
“I think it’s a little bit of a reset,” Brunette said of scratching Evangelista. “I think the last 5-7 games he’s not played up to his standards in my expectation of him.”
Through his first 16 games of the season, Evangelista has nine points, including three on the power play. However, in the last five games, he has just two points and zero since forward Tommy Novak was placed on injured reserve.
As far as how the Predators lineup will look moving forward, there’s still consistency to be found. Sherwood has played a game on every line once, except for the top unit. He has six points in 16 games, and he’s been a surprising spark-plug for the Predators no matter where he’s had an opportunity.
“Our job is to play and the coaches find what works and chemistry,” Sherwood said. “Any time you play guys more the more chemistry you build because you tend to read off of them. As a player, you try to focus on how you make an impact and it doesn’t matter who I play with or what line we are, we want to be the better line with who we play against.”
Since coming back from a lower-body injury on Nov. 11, Glass has played with Sherwood, mostly at even strength, seemingly as s temporary fill-in on the second line while Novak is out.
Glass, who missed eight games with a lower-body injury, is wearing a knee sleeve at the moment as he continues to feel comfortable returning to action. He’s won 16 of 25 his face offs since Nashville played the Arizona Coyotes, and he said he wants to manage the puck better as he gets used to playing with new line-mates.
“It’s a lot of change, I feel like every time I’m with someone else,” Glass said. “It’s hard to get used to but at the same time, we have a lot of skilled players on this team. Playing with [Sherwood] he’s fast, hits hard, and finds the right spots. Luke is a skilled guy and very patient with the puck so coming back and playing with him was a really good feeling. I know Novak but it’s nice to play with those players.”
Evangelista will be watching Monday’s game from the press box. It’s a situation Sherwood is familiar with. He said it’s “non-negotiable” being ready to compete right from the jump.
“I want to set the tone early,” Sherwood said. “We have to be physical down low and they have a lot of offensive guys so if we can possess the puck and force them to play defense I want to force them to play back since they’re all offensive guys. We have to be mindful of where their guys are at so I want to wear them down and be a physical presence on them and really compete from there and let the game come to us.”
#Preds forward lines this morning
Forsberg – O'Reilly – Nyquist
Sherwood – Glass – Pärssinen
Foudy – Sissons – Trenin
Smith – Tomasino – McCarron
We'll hear from Brunette after the skate.
— Nick Kieser 🏒 (@KieserNick) November 20, 2023
Ryan Johansen returns to Nashville
Former Predators center Ryan Johansen will make his Bridgestone Arena return, skating against the Predators as a visiting player for the first time since November 2015.
Johansen was dealt to the Avalanche during the offseason and now comes back to where he spent his last eight years.
Over the summer, Johansen felt as if something may have been brewing inside the organization regarding his standing with the team. That still didn’t change his reaction when he found out the news that he was traded while on the way home from visiting Nappa Valley for vacation in June.
“With those changes that were going on with the team here, you never expect those things to happen, but they do and no matter what, it’s always a shock and a big change,” Johansen said. “With all of it, I’m just so grateful I was here for all this time.”