The Nashville Predators stumble have stumbled recently and fallen back to sixth in the Central Division. What can we change to move back up?
It’s always a long, hard-fought battle in the Central Division, and we know that very well as Nashville Predators fans. The Predators have won two-straight division titles after never winning a division title in franchise history prior to that. Can they still rally and win a third-straight?
This current slide the Predators are on has pushed them way down towards the bottom of the division standings. Shield your eyes if seeing the Predators near the bottom scares you. However, there’s plenty of time to turn this thing around.
The Current Central Division Standings
The Nashville Predators have only won once out of seven games in November, but they do have five left and could bounce back fairly quick. They have two important division games against the St. Louis Blues remaining this month. This will be a tough test for the Predators, who desperately need to start beating their division opponents.
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In the month of November the Predators are now 0-3 against division opponents, with those losses coming to Winnipeg, Colorado and Chicago. Their overall division record for the season is now 3-3, with two wins over Minnesota and one over Chicago.
In December, the Predators only have one division game, against Dallas. Winning these three key division games is important to the Predators success and climbing back up the division ladder. Instead of waiting for teams to fall down and hit their own rough patch, it’s important to take them out when you have the chance.
Unfortunately after stumbling through November so far, the Predators have slumped to just under a 47 percent probability to make the playoffs per MoneyPuck.com:
Please Don’t Worry
It’s November, and the Predators have been moving around their lineup almost every night. As they start to figure out their best lineup, the pieces will fall into place and the Predators should go back to being the Predators we all recognize. However, there is one worrisome trend that needs to be watched carefully.
In October, Pekka Rinne dominated, even with poor defensive play in front of him. In November, it seems like those two things flip-flopped. The Nashville defense has been far from stellar, but it has been much better than it was in October. The goalie play has gotten worse, mainly from Rinne.
Saros has looked much sharper in his starts this month as opposed to his starts in October. However, coming in for relief of Rinne has been difficult and Saros hasn’t had success coming in as a relief goalie. It’s hard to blame him for that as it’s very difficult to come in the middle of a game, without warming up, against a hot offensive team.
The goalie issues this month seem to be getting overlooked by many people, but I don’t think it should be. Rinne will bounce back to close out November, but this is definitely a worrisome trend to keep an eye on that’s leading to many of these recent losses.
Final Thoughts and Prediction
The season is long, and we’re basically at the quarter mark. The Nashville Predators are not in first, but they are not in last. They’re near the midst of division pack and within easy striking distance if they get on a winning streak. This team has too much depth and firepower to be left behind.
They seem to have fixed some issues we worried about in October. Now they need to find the right balance of offense, defense and goaltending. As the season moves along I expect the Predators to pick up the slack and get back on top.
Some things are bound to start bouncing the way of the Predators as well. Sometimes hockey is about lucky bounces and fortunate breaks. It doesn’t seem like the Predators have been getting that as of late. That means sometimes creating your own luck, but they’ve also ran into some rock solid goaltenders as of late, like Connor Hellebuyck and Robin Lehner.
Final Projected Central Division Standings
- St. Louis Blues
- Colorado Avalanche
- Nashville Predators
- Dallas Stars
- Winnipeg Jets
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Minnesota Wild
The Blues are the defending Stanley Cup champions and will probably stay at the top as they’re stacked both offensively, defensively and in net. As for the Predators, they’re not going to stay down in their current divisional position. They’ll finish in the top-three and stay out of that crowded wildcard race.