Things are looking good for the Nashville Predators right now. Very good perhaps. But, just how good are they compared to the rest of the NHL?
Winning cures what ails us. And, to start the season, there were plenty of things troubling the Nashville Predators. A good game was followed by a head-scratching performance. Six of their opening 10 games were decided by one goal. All signs showed the team to be mediocre, playing to a 5-4-2 record in the opening month.
However, November started and the Nashville Predators turned things on. While the trade for Kyle Turris deserves some credit for the team’s performance this month, the change started just before his arrival. After a lose in San Jose, the Predators earned wins on back-to-back nights against Anaheim and Los Angeles. Take about a confidence boost.
Then, Turris was acquired. And the team exploded.
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We get it. All we have heard about is the current win streak the Predators are enjoying. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying it, too. The good thing is national media outlets are starting to recognize how good this team is performing.
Sports Illustrated has the Predators sixth in their current NHL power rankings. CBS slots them at fourth. So does USA Today. Heck, even our friends at Blackhawk Up list the Predators as the fifth best team in the NHL. That is high praise.
But, it is not just win loss record. It is who the Predators have played.
According to Hockey-Reference, the Nashville Predators have the fourth best strength of schedule in the NHL. The teams above them? Carolina Hurricanes, Anaheim Ducks, and the Florida Panthers. With this strong schedule, the Predators still earn points in 68.8% of their games. Only Tampa Bay and St. Louis have higher percentages.
There are 10 teams Nashville has yet to play. Three of those teams are considered among the best in the NHL: Toronto, Tampa Bay, New Jersey and Vegas. Of course, Vegas visits this next week. This means the other seven teams, while quality opponents, are near the bottom of their divisions. So, not only are the Predators winning, they are beating quality opponents.
Furthermore, the Predators have the fifth best record (7-1-3) in games decided by a goal. They are 9-2-2 against the Western Conference. Only San Jose and Tampa Bay have fewer losses. Add to this the second best team at home, and you have a great Nashville Predators team.
Finally, there are ten teams in the NHL who earned more than 30 points so far, including Nashville. The Predators are 4-1 against those teams, and have yet to play four others.
So, it is not just that the Nashville Predators are winning, it is who they are beating. That bodes well come playoff time.