Predators Can Sweep the Stanley Cup Champs Later Today

Matt Duchene #95 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates Mikael Granlund #64 and Filip Forsberg #9 after scoring his first goal as a member of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Matt Duchene #95 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates Mikael Granlund #64 and Filip Forsberg #9 after scoring his first goal as a member of the Nashville Predators (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Sometimes it’s better late than never. The Nashville Predators are playing their best hockey since October, and can sweep the season series over St.Louis today.

A three-game winning streak doesn’t sound like that much, but that’s something the Nashville Predators haven’t done since late October when they won four in a row.

They can extend their modest winning streak to three games later today if they figure out a way to beat the defending Stanley Cup champion St.Louis Blues for a fourth time this season.

It’s really difficult to beat the same team in a back-to-back scenario, especially when it’s a division rival that knows you very well.

We also get to see the Winter Classic sweaters again from the Predators, and they won in those uniforms the last time wearing them against the Buffalo Sabres right before the All-Star break:

Two teams going in different directions

The Blues are in a tailspin of their own right now. They’ve now lost four in a row and have just two wins since January 13th.

They’re now in danger of losing the top spot in the division to either Colorado or Dallas.

On the other hand, the Predators appear to be surging at just the right time. We’re finally starting to seeing complete team efforts and them responding to adversity when teams try to seize momentum.

That’s what happened in yesterday’s thrilling win over the Blues in matinee action. The Predators came out of the gate strong with two goals, but the Blues kept battling back and eventually tied it at 3-3.

That’s when the Predators answered the call, kept up the intensity and got a incredible power play goal from Mikael Granlund.

The Blues pushed hard to try to tie it back up again over the final 16 minutes of regulation, but Juuse Saros polished off the win for his 11th win of the season.

The Predators found a way to match the intensity of the Blues and not back down. We’ve seen them fold far too many times this season when the opposition scores a couple goals in quick order.

Today’s game

There’s no hiding the fact that the Predators have been very average at home this season. They’re just 12-11-4 at home, and haven’t given the fans a lot of great performances over the last couple of months.

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That’s with the major exception of their last home game on Thursday night when they absolutely crushed the New York Islanders to a 5-0 final score.

Everything seems to be coming together as the players get acclimated to what Hynes wants to do, and we’re starting to see the results.

We’ll see a switch in the goaltender matchup today as Pekka Rinne will go up against Jordan Binnington. The Predators are definitely up against more formidable goaltending today with Binnington.

Binnington’s number are down compared to last season as his save percentage is hovering around 91 percent, and his goals against average is creeping upward towards three goals per game.

There’s been no shortage of struggles for Rinne this season, either. Rinne has most likely lost his primary starting role to Saros, but the Predators still need to play another quality game in front of him today.

We’re getting so close to seeing Ryan Ellis return to game action, but it looks like later this upcoming week is when we’ll see him again for the first time since the Winter Classic.

The Blues are going to be locked in and ready to get a win. Championship-caliber teams don’t just roll over and die. They still have a lot to play for before going into the playoffs.

Expect plenty more brawls and extra-curricular activities between these two teams today. We already saw yesterday the continued bad blood between Viktor Arvidsson and Robert Bortuzzo.

There will be plenty more of that today, and it’s great to see the Predators picking their moments to respond with that fiery intensity of their own.

The Blues are going to give the Predators everything they can handle today. They may even score the first couple of goals and try to bury the Predators early and get the crowd out of it.

I’m interested to see how the Predators keep responding to that adversity and if they’re truly ready to make a surge into the playoff field and make this season something special to remember.

Puck drop from Bridgestone Arena is set for 5 P.M. CDT and will be televised nationally on NBCSN.