The Nashville Predators 2013-2014 regular season will start in 42 days.
I can hear the puck drop now. The sounds of fans rushing through the gates, the smell of arena food. There is something about going to an NHL game that heightens the senses. This year Predators fans will need to wait until October 8th when the Predators host the Minnesota Wild. Nashville will open up on the road at the St. Louis Blues on October 3rd. The Blues have become a bit of a rival over the past few seasons. (2010′s: W 10-L 12-0 W% 45.5).
If Nashville wants to make the playoffs they need to improve their winning percentage vs. central division teams.
This year the Central Division is made up of 4 new teams, and 3 returning teams.
Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Dallas Stars, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, Winnipeg Jets
In order for the Predators to reach the playoffs I believe that Nashville will need to be better than 50% vs. at least 3 of their conference rivals. They will also need to be above the 60% mark vs. the Western Conference. The Predators will play every Eastern Conference team. A split in the East should set them up nicely. Let’s not forget there is also a new playoff format for this upcoming season. I’m guessing between 94- 98 points should get them in.
New Playoff Format (NHL.com)
The Stanley Cup Playoffs will still consist of 16 teams, eight in each conference, but it will be division-based and a wild-card system has been added.
The top three teams in each division will make up the first 12 teams in the playoffs. The remaining four spots will be filled by the next two highest-placed finishers in each conference, based on regular-season points and regardless of division. It will be possible, then, for one division to send five teams to the postseason while the other sends three.
The seeding of the wild-card teams within each divisional playoff will be determined on the basis of regular-season points. The division winner with the most points in the conference will be matched against the wild-card team with the fewest points; the division winner with the second-most points in the conference will play the wild-card team with the second fewest points.
The teams finishing second and third in each division will play in the first round of the playoffs. The winners of each series will play for berths in the conference championship series.
I would love to see the Predators make a run at a top three spot, but realistically I think we are looking at a wild-card birth.
The Predators open up the season on the road with games in St. Louis and Colorado. If you’re a Preds fan in either of those areas, you can click here for NHL tickets to any team this season. Nashville’s home opener is October 8th against Ryan Suter and the Wild with tickets for as low as $34. The NHL season is almost upon us!