By Amanda DiPaolo
Every Tuesday, Predlines will be bringing you the latest news and analysis from the Central Division. Because the Predators success largely depends on the failures of our divisional opponents, we need to track their every move throughout the regular, post and off season. If we’ve left something of note out, contact us at [email protected]
As has been the case for the past two weeks, if the playoffs started today, only Nashville would be looking from the outside in. Detroit is in front of the Central Division, as well as the entire Western Conference, with 28 points. Columbus sits in 4th spot, St. Louis is in 5th and Chicago is hanging in there at 7th in the Western Conference. The Predators, winners of four out of the last six games, are in 13th place in the Western Conference, 1 win out of the 8th spot.
Chicago Blackhawks 11-10-2
Last week, Chicago traveled to the northwest to take on the Oilers on Wednesday night. The Oilers had already beat the Blackhawks twice this season. Chicago, however, shutout the Oilers 5-0 before heading to Calgary to lose 7-2 Friday night. Saturday, the Blackhawks ended their week by beating the Canucks 7-1.
This week, Chicago heads out West to play in California. On Wednesday, the Blackhawks face San Jose before heading to Anaheim and Los Angeles for Friday and Saturday games.
There wasn’t a lot going on in the world of the Blackhawks off the ice last week. Sometimes no news is good news. For the second week in a row, Chicago has no one would of their lineup and are completely healthy.
Columbus Blue Jackets 13-6-0
Last week, the Blue Jackets swept their California road trip. Columbus beat Los Angeles 5-3 on Wednesday, edged Anaheim 4-3 on Friday and shutout San Jose 3-0 on Saturday. Monday night, the Blue Jackets hosted Nashville on Monday night and shut the Predators out, extending their win streak to four games.
This week, Columbus visits the struggling Islanders to try to extend the streak to five wins in a row. On the weekend, Columbus has a home-and-home against Detroit on Friday and Sunday.
Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash was named the NHL’s first star of the week. Nash scored 6 times last week, leading all scorers. The Blue Jackets captain scored two goals, including the game-winner, against Los Angeles, delivering the Kings their first home loss of the season. Nash also scored in a 4-3 win at Anaheim on Friday night, before scoring his fifth career hat trick Saturday night.
The Blue Jackets are unveiling their third jersey on Wednesday night. The jerseys will be debuted on the ice for the first time Friday night when the Jackets play the Red Wings.
There are no new injuries for the Blue Jackets. Left wing Kristian Huselius remains on injured reserve retroactive to October 23. Ethan Moreau is also out of the lineup. Moreau had surgery on his right hand.
Detroit Red Wings 13-3-2
The Red Wings are in the middle of a five game home stand. Last week, Detroit beat Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues 7-3. Detroit also beat Minnesota and the Flames on the weekend, both in overtime, 4-3 and 5-4 respectively.
This week, Detroit heads to the read for a couple of games, playing in Atlanta on Wednesday and Columbus on Friday before heading home to host the Blue Jackets on Sunday.
Dan Cleary left Sunday’s game with an undisclosed upper-body injury, but he is probable for Wednesday night’s game against Atlanta.
St. Louis Blues 11-5-3
Last week, the Blues lost to Detroit 7-3 on Wednesday but beat a couple of Eastern Conference teams on the weekend. The Blues hosted the Senators on Friday, winning 5-2. St. Louis then hosted the Devils on Saturday. The Blues edged New Jersey 3-2.
St. Louis has three games on schedule this week. First up, the Nashville Predators host the Blues on Wednesday. The game will be televised national on Versus. St. Louis then has a home-and-home with Dallas on Friday and Saturday.
Last Tuesday, Hall of Famer Al MacInnis was inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame. MacInnis has been the Blues’ Vice President of Hockey Operations since November 6, 2006 after retiring from playing.
There are no new injuries for the Blues, but the team continues to play without some key players. Blues forward David Perron is still out after being his by San Jose’s Joe Thornton on November 4th with what are still being described as concussion-like symptoms.
T.J. Oshie is out with a broken ankle.
Defenseman Barret Jackman remains on injured reserve with a sprained knee and defenseman Roman Polak remains out of the lineup because of a wrist laceration suffered at the blade of Sidney Crosby’s skate when the Blues played the Penguins.
Are you looking for tickets to an upcoming Predators home game? Follow this link for discounted tickets. Make an account and then use the word Preds as the code for the discount. The next Predators home game is Wednesday, November 24th when the Preds take on the St. Louis Blues for the third and final time at Bridgestone Arena. The game is going to be televised nationally on Versus. You do not want to miss it!