Why the Nashville Predators Will Narrowly Sneak into the Playoffs

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 7: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes watches the action against the Boston Bruins at Bridgestone Arena on January 7, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 7: Nashville Predators head coach John Hynes watches the action against the Boston Bruins at Bridgestone Arena on January 7, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Nashville Predators have been trying to get over that hump all season, but they’re not buried yet. Here’s why they’ll creep into the postseason.

The NHL All-Star game is over, and that means that regular hockey will resume shortly. The Nashville Predators have a lot of work ahead of them to catch up in the standings for the Central Division, but don’t count them out yet.

There have been a lot of big changes that have happened, and a lot of players that weren’t expected to be playing such critical roles going into the season. As the team gets more acclimated with new head coach John Hynes, hopefully more chemistry on the ice will start resulting in more wins.

Treading Water

The first half of the season has had some disappointments for sure, but it falls on other categories as well as individual player performance. Between new coaches, young players being called up from Milwaukee, and some prolonged injuries, the Predators have found themselves treading water this season.

If you look for the long haul though, there is a major plus to all the madness. There are new coaching views and player dynamics that might just change the game. Hynes wants to elevate and maximize the talent already on the team, per the Nashville Post. We shouldn’t expect anything less with our stacked lines and depth of creativity and skill.

The Predators just haven’t been able to get over that hump. Whenever we think they’re about to go on a long run, they slip backwards and fall to one of the bottom spots in the stacked Central Division. They need to follow through with a nice, healthy winning streak coming out of the break.

There is hope for the standings

With all the new faces and construction going on around the team, we have already witnessed some improvements since Hynes arrived in Nashville. The Predators defense has tightened up, there is a greater net-front presence, and they are executing plays creatively and effectively already.

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The Predators know that Hynes is going to be clear in what he wants from the team, and what they have to do to be successful. They’ve now had plenty of time to learn his new system, which is considerably different from Peter Laviolette‘s.

With Colton Sissons warming back up from an injury in Milwaukee, and Ryan Ellis patiently waiting to come back back from a lengthy injury himself, the fans can only expect greater results in the second half of the season.

Look for the hustle and look for the Predators to play desperate hockey. They’re already battle-tested and proven to make comebacks. They have all the weapons to make a run into the playoffs, and now it’s time to actually deliver and follow through.

The Predators are actually pretty fortunate to not be down further in the standings than they already are. Having those games in hand is also a nice thing to have in your back pocket when you’re trying to make up ground in the standings.

All of these things and more are the reasons why I believe they will have a great second half of the season. I could easily be wrong, but they have a lot of fight left in them, and I truly believe they want to play better.

Final Point Prediction

I believe the Predators will finish the season with roughly 90 to 95 points. With 35 games left,  they will have given up 20 to 25 points roughly in losses, and come out with around 45 extra points with an overtime win or two.

I know this is a crazy number when you compare to what we’ve seen so far, but I think they’ll barely scrape by into a wild card position, and then explode in the playoffs. This is a prediction, so don’t hold me to it, but I could see this happening.

The Predators have won three of the last five games, with two of the wins being against division foes Winnipeg and Chicago, but the lack of inconsistency is keeping them faded back. You just can’t get too caught up in what position they’re in and look more at basic probability.

They’re within three points of the three teams ahead of them (Minnesota, Chicago, Winnipeg) and have played three to four games less than them. This obviously doesn’t matter if they don’t win these games they have in hand, but that makes the mountain considerably smaller to climb.

Being in last place is a tough pill to swallow, with only 51 points on the board. Gutty overtime losses are no longer going to be enough. They need regulation wins. Win or lose this season, the second half will be a fight to the finish.

Final Point Prediction: 95 Points, First Wildcard Spot. . Nashville Predators. 7. team. 151.

Next contender post All-Star weekend is the Toronto Maple Leafs. A team composed of physicality and sniping forwards. No win for the Predators from here on out will be given up easily. But the team will be eager for action, and the Nashville Predators are on the brink of a breakout.