Nashville Predators: Brutal Stretch of Schedule Could Derail Everything

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

An extremely tough month of November will make-or-break the Nashville Predators’ hopes of securing the franchise’s first division title.

As the regular season quickly approaches, expectations are boiling over for the Nashville Predators. We all know the Predators are a great team, capable of representing the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Final again this year. They’ll have to survive a particularly tough month of their schedule to get that coveted top playoff seed.

Looking over the schedule, it starts off very difficult with an East coast trip to Boston and Pittsburgh. Both are perennial juggernauts in the East with rabid fans. The Predators are going to be battle-tested right out the gate, but it’s not my biggest concern.

November Will Be Make-or-Break 

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The month of October, although challenging, is just an appetizer to how tough November will be. Most of your Western Conference Finals contenders are on the docket in November, including Anaheim, St. Louis and Chicago. It starts off with the dreaded California road trip and doesn’t let up after that.

It’s going to take time for this new-look Predators roster to gel. That means a slow start might occur. They’ll be good enough to avoid full on panic mode, but November is when things get tricky. You hope that head coach Peter Laviolette will have this talented bunch already building great chemistry to beat some elite teams.

Outside of the tough division games in November, both Pittsburgh and Washington are waiting. Those two will come to Bridgestone Arena. To pile on even more, the Predators get an upstart Columbus team and host Montreal. We will be sick of the Eastern Conference when November comes to an end.

Honestly, the only break the Predators get in the month are matchups with Vancouver and Colorado. Every other opponent has realistic playoff hopes.

We’ll Know A Lot After November

A strong November will mean they’re set up to take advantage of an easier back-end of the schedule. Luckily, the schedule does balance out in December. By this time newcomers Nick Bonino and Alexei Emelin should be comfortable with their new team.

It’s not all doom and gloom even if the Predators do struggle in November. There will be a lot of time left to weather the storm. All of the offensive firepower will win tons of games. However, to think really big, I need to see how they come out of November. Will Filip Forsberg become a perennial scorer, and will the young guns keep ascending into key contributors? Can Pekka Rinne remain consistent in the net? Those questions we will have an answer to after this treacherous November stretch.

There’s the paranoid thought of are the Predators good enough to repeat last season’s storybook campaign. There’s still a sliver of a possibility that they bolster up the roster more with the addition of Matt Duchene from Colorado, per the Denver Post:

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Winning the division and snatching a top seed in the playoffs is a major goal for the Predators. To do that, November will make-or-break where I want to see them go next. The last thing we want is needing another late-season push to even make the playoff field.