Can Nashville beat L.A. at home, too? (PHOTO: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators Schedule: Week 3

The first two weeks of the Nashville Predators schedule have left the team in decent shape in the standings despite plenty of adversity. The week ahead sees them playing three games against opponents they faced at least once in January before inviting the NHL’s hottest team to Nashville for another round in their ongoing rivalry.

2013 NASHVILLE PREDATORS SCHEDULE

WEEK 3

The St. Louis Blues are on Week 3 of the Nashville Predators schedule

More St. Louis, more Tarasenko. (PHOTO: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports)

Tuesday, February 5th
at St. Louis Blues (6-2-0)
7:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee

The Preds’ seven-game road trip ends here in St. Louis against a Blues team that has already beaten Nashville twice this season: once in a shootout, and once by shutout. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko has given St. Louis an edge it didn’t have last season, the Blues’ power play has been clicking at a 35.5-percent rate (2nd in the NHL), and they can still play stifling defense. One big difference in those games: they didn’t have to face an in-form Pekka Rinne. The Predators will want to send a statement that their shutout loss in the last game was anything but par for the course, but they’ll have to do it without Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist, two of their leading scorers.

Thursday, February 7th
vs Los Angeles Kings (2-3-2)
7:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee
Game available in Atlanta

Nashville knocked off Los Angeles at Staples Center just last week, winning its first shootout in four tries in an epic eight-rounder thanks to goals from David Legwand, Craig Smith, and Gabriel Bourque. This time the Kings will have to face the Preds at Bridgestone Arena, where the Preds will be playing their first home game since January 21st. If Nashville can get the crowd into the game they can turn Bridgestone into very hostile territory for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Week 3 of the Nashville Predators schedule sees another game against Minnesota

A win against Minnesota would mean a season series victory for the Preds.

Saturday, February 9th
at Minnesota Wild (4-3-1)
7:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee
Game available in Atlanta

The Nashville Predators’ only regulation win of the season came against Minnesota on January 22nd at the opening of the Preds’ seven-game road trip. Ryan Suter had a bad night but has continued to settle in with his new team in the meantime. Nashville, meanwhile, has forgotten what it’s like for a game to end after 60 minutes – or for its box score to show points from Shea Weber. The Wild aren’t likely to look as flat this second time around. Every game is important, but this one is against a team that will probably compete with Nashville for a bottom-four playoff spot.

Week 3 of the Nashville Predators schedule sees the first game against the Chicago Blackhawks

The first game against Chicago ends Week 3 of the Nashville Predators schedule. (PHOTO: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Sunday, February 10th
vs. Chicago Blackhawks (7-0-2)
7:00 p.m. CST
FOX Sports Tennessee

Nashville has only played two of its Central Division rivals so far, which might be part of why the Chicago Blackhawks are off to the best start of any team in the NHL. The Blackhawks have been unbeatable in regulation so far – even if in one case it meant scoring at 59:57 to send the game to overtime. They’re as dangerous a team as there is in the NHL right now. Nashville’s crushing defense and its 2.12 goals-against average has already slowed down an even hotter offense in San Jose, and if not for a too-many-men penalty by Colin Wilson they might have closed the Sharks out in regulation. The first of four games between Chicago and Nashville – and the first of a four-game Predators home stand – will serve as an opening argument in the case of Offense v. Defense.

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