The opening month for the Nashville Predators had great moments and embarrassments. If they want to contend for the division, the next two week loom large.
We made it through. It was not always pretty, but October is finished for the Nashville Predators. Finishing with 12 point places the team is good position moving forward. Even with moments in which the team appeared to be dominated, they still rank seventh in the NHL in CorsiFor. And they are sixth in Fenwick ratings.
Splitting two games in Chicago makes a solid statement. The Predators are not intimidated by any team. But, an embarrassing loss to the New York Islanders, in addition to giving up a two-goal lead to Calgary, it is obvious improvements can be made.
The next stretch of games will test the Predators unlike October. For the next two weeks, they face a gauntlet of teams that are early contenders for the playoffs.
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Starting November 1, the Nashville Predators’ next five games will be a great test. The combined record of those teams as of is 34-19-3. That is a 60% win percentage. And, it includes back-to-back games against the Anaheim Duck and the Los Angeles Kings. Both on the road.
First up, it is a trip to play the San Jose Sharks. Even though they have a 5-5 record, the Sharks are allowing the fourth lowest goals on the season. Additionally, they rank fifth in 5v5 in CorsiFor percentage. Of all the teams the match-up well with the Predators, it should be the Sharks. Both teams struggle to score in 5v5 times, but have success on power plays. And, they both perform well on penalty kills. The two teams are so similar, it could be like watching twins play.
The best opportunity for the Predators to earn two points comes against the depleted Anaheim Ducks. Cam Fowler and Patrick Eaves are two of the Ducks that will likely miss the game with injuries and illnesses. Also, the Ducks have one of the least effect power plays in the NHL. Can the Predators build chemistry on defense and the second line, and come away with a win? They need to, because…
…the Los Angeles Kings are next. The one saving grace for the Nashville Predators here is that they are not in the Eastern Conference. So far, the Kings are 8-1-0 versus the East, and 1-0-1 against the Western Conference. It will be the Kings second home game in a row after being on the road for six. They play the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs before the Predators come a-callin’. Maybe Nashville will walk away with two points on a off-night for the best team in the West.
This is followed up with games in Columbus, then at home for Pittsburgh and Washington. It won’t be an easy stretch for the Nashville Predators. If the make it through earning five points, I call it a success. Anything more is just gravy.