Nashville Predators: The Final Push
Nashville Predators fans, let’s put this past few weeks behind us, shall we? The Predators are just 2-7-1 in their last 10, but they haven’t played terribly the last five games or so (minus that horrendous third period in Anaheim). There seems to be a lot of negativity floating around in cyberspace regarding our beloved team, so with me being the eternal optimist, let’s take a look at the final 10 games of this 2014-2015 regular season.
This week will provide for some much needed rest for the Predators. It will also allow for practices, which have been few and far between due to the brutal February/March schedule.
Saturday, March 21 – Sabres at Home
The Predators will host a Buffalo Sabres team that has all but hit the golf course. They currently are 20-43-7, good for dead last in the East, and a front runner for that coveted #1 draft pick this summer. In theory, this should be an “easy” win for Predators, but last time out, it took a shootout to defeat the Sabres.
Tuesday, March 24 – Canadiens at Home
In their last meeting, the Predators lost in overtime at Montreal, and hope to avenge that loss when the Predators host the Montreal Canadiens. Montreal solidly holds a playoff spot, and currently holds the number one spot in the Atlantic Division.
Thursday, March 26 – Lightning on the Road
The Predators will take their talents to the Sunshine State to take on a solid Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are 6-3-1 in their last 10, and are battling the Canadiens for the top spot in the Atlantic. The last time these two teams met, the Predators topped the Lightning in overtime, 3-2.
Saturday, March 28 – Capitals on the Road
The Predators will travel to the Nation’s Capital to start their final back to back set of the season (thank goodness) to visit former Predators coach Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals. In their previous meeting, the Predators beat the Capitals in a hard fought victory, 4-3. The Capitals currently find themselves in the #1 Wild Card spot in the East, just two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins for the #3 spot in the Metropolitan Division.
Sunday, March 29 – Flames at Home
The Predators second game of this back to back will take place in Nashville, hosting the Calgary Flames. The Flames will be a hungry team. They are currently fighting for the #3 spot in the Pacific Division with the Los Angeles Kings. In their two previous matchups, the Flames have won both games… 3-2 in a shootout on October 14, and 4-3 on October, 31.
Tuesday, March 31 – Canucks at Home
The Predators will host the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks currently hold the #2 spot in the Pacific Divison, a mere three points ahead of the Los Angeles Kings. In their previous two meetings, the Predators have had the Canucks number, winning 3-1 at Vancouver on November 2, and at home 5-1 January 13.
Saturday, April 4 – Stars on the Road
After a three day break in the schedule, the Predators roll into the final week of the regular season. They will start this final week traveling to the “Big D” to play the Dallas Stars. The Stars haven’t quite lived up to preseason expectations, but have had an up and down season laden with injury. The Stars will look to play spoiler, as although not officially, they will miss the post season. The Predators have won the three previous games, (4-1 Oct 11, 3-2 Nov 6, 3-2 OT Jan 8). The Stars are a big team who will also hope to play spoiler with the Predators Conference/Division championship hopes.
Tuesday, April 7 – Avalanche on the Road
The Predators skate into Denver where they will play the Colorado Avalanche. The Avalanche currently find themselves seven points out of a Wild Card Spot, and will likely look to spoil any Predators championship aspirations. The Predators lead the season series, 3-1 ( Feb 24 COL 2 at NSH 5,
Jan 30 NSH 0 at COL 3, Jan 27 COL 3 at NSH 4 – OT, Dec 09 NSH 3 at COL 0).
Thursday, April 9 – Wild at Home
The Predators will once again host the Minnesota Wild in a matchup that could be a preview of the first-round of the playoffs. Both teams will be fighting for points and position in the standings, and this is the regular season home finale for the Predators. This one should be a doozie.
Saturday, April 11 – Stars on the Road
The Predators will end their 2014-2015 regular season campaign with a quick trip to Dallas to play the Stars. Having played each other just one week prior, this could be an entertaining matchup. I’m sure Predators fans will not only have their eyes on this game, but also the race for the Central Division title will come to a close as the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues will also be playing their respective season finales.Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
This all sets up for an exciting final three and a half weeks of the 2014-2015 regular season. While the first half of the season has been an uphill ride, the past few weeks has been a roller coaster ride for the players and for the fans. Hopefully, the Predators can once again find their game that led to so much excitement in Nashville. Can Special Teams start to find the back of the net? Can Pekka Rinne return to Vezina caliber goaltending? Can rookie sensation Filip Forsberg get back to the goal column on a regular basis? Can the Predators win the Central Division? Western Conference? President’s Trophy?
Time will tell. The Predators will get some “rest” this week with their not being a game Thursday night. Here’s hoping some good home cooking and some solid practice time can get this amazing season turned around.