With the NHL trade deadline come and gone, this lockout-shortened season is almost at a close. That means we’re past the time in the season where Nashville Predators fans are only concerned with how their favorite team is doing. With the playoffs a distant but still real possibility, the question at this time of the year is:
WHO SHOULD NASHVILLE PREDATORS FANS ROOT FOR IN THE NHL TONIGHT?
April 4th, 2013
As of this afternoon, sportsclubstats.com lists the Nashville Predators’ chances of making the playoffs at 15.1 percent. A win tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets would boost those chances by five percent, and a few other things going right could improve their chances overall. So, beyond the obvious need for a Preds win, the Music City faithful should be hoping for three teams they instinctively despise to win their games.
First up are the Chicago Blackhawks (27-5-3, 1st in the West), who take on the St. Louis Blues (18-14-2, 9th). It feels a little bit gross to hope the Blackhawks will beat anybody. Not only are they the Blackhawks, and thus evil, but they’ve had so much success this season that cheering them on feels like rooting for the Yankees. The thing is, the Blues are tied with Nashville at 38 points apiece – with three games in hand. A St. Louis loss would add 0.9 percent to the Preds’ chances of making the playoffs.
Next are the Vancouver Canucks (19-11-6, 4th in the West), who play their Northwest Division rivals the Edmonton Oilers (16-13-7, 8th). This is another case that ought to give you chills since the Canucks knocked Nashville out of the Western Conference Semifinal two years back and give them hell every season. Edmonton, though, destroyed the Calgary Flames 8-2 in their last game to leapfrog the Preds and Blues into 8th place. They have a game in hand on the Preds, so an Oilers loss would add 1.0 percent to Nashville’s chances.
Finally there’s another old playoff foe, the Phoenix Coyotes (15-15-6, 12th in the West), who face the Detroit Red Wings (18-13-5, 7th). Not only is there the playoff animosity from last season, but the Coyotes destroyed the Preds the last time they came to Nashville. But a Phoenix win would be a bump in the road for the Red Wings, who are three points ahead of the Preds with one game in hand. Getting the right result here would add 0.9 percent to the Preds’ playoff hopes.
A Nashville Predators win along with these outcomes could boost the Preds’ chances of making the playoffs as high as 22.9 percent by the end of the night – still a long shot, but 22.9 percent better than zero.