Nashville Predators: Five Takeaways from Five Preseason Games

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period of the NHL preseason game between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 22, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis (4) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the second period of the NHL preseason game between the Nashville Predators and Tampa Bay Lightning on September 22, 2018, at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. (Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Predators are chasing the Jets

It’s not a big gap, and you can argue that the Predators are the better team. The Jets prematurely sent the Predators home in the second round of the playoffs. A Predators team that I believe was the best Predators team in franchise history. Even better than the one that came within two wins of the Stanley Cup. This team has the potential to be just as good.

However, the Jets also have a stacked team with a Vezina Trophy contender in Connor Hellebuyck. They match up with the Predators well and are going to be one of the highest scoring teams in the NHL. What worries me is if the Predators have enough scoring threats to keep pace with the Jets in a seven-game series. I can’t say that they do heading into the season. We’ll see these teams go head-to-head just four games into the regular season. That will be an early measuring stick for the Predators. They certainly have to end the preseason on a high note after a rough patch the last three games, including a 4-1 loss to Carolina at home:

It’s a long, grinding season. Just because the Jets are better now, doesn’t mean they’ll be better in April. The Predators are too talented to miss the playoffs. What happens after that is impossible to predict now. I expect a more competitive Central Division from top to bottom, meaning the Predators probably won’t top their 117 points from 2017-18. The unknowns from the third and fourth line gives me a little bit of hesitation to put them ahead of the Jets as we head towards the regular season.