Predators Are Riding High as the Hurricanes Invade Nashville

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) /

We’ve been saying for a while that the Nashville Predators need a decent winning streak during this playoff push. They look to extend it tonight.

This has been the most excitement and optimism surrounding the Nashville Predators since October. They’ve won three in a row, including a weekend sweep of the St.Louis Blues.

They also absolutely dismantled the New York Islanders 5-0 before that. Now they have their first three-game winning streak since October, and haven’t won more than four in a row all season.

The Hurricanes are in a similar situation as the Predators are in as far as being on the cusp of a playoff spot. They’re one point out of a wildcard spot, while the Predators are three points out but with games in hand.

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Ready for the trade deadline?

There’s three games left for the Predators before Monday’s trade deadline. Who knows which direction they’ll go, but all options should be on the table, including staying put with what they have.

This recent hot streak where they’ve won five of their last seven gives reason for optimism for what we always thought. They have the necessary pieces, and just need to put it all together.

Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund lead the trade talks for the Predators, but these two are also playing some of the best hockey on the team right now.

At this point with the way both of those guys are playing, you really can’t let them go unless you’re giving up on the season, which they can’t do by being only three points out.

Tonight’s matchup

Carolina is a pretty lethal offensive team. They do a lot of things well in key areas like specials teams, scoring efficiency and defensive efficiency.

You absolutely can’t overlook their top scorer in Sebastian Aho, who has 33 goals and 56 points on the season. He’s coming off a three-point game in Carolina’s last game, a 4-3 overtime loss to Edmonton.

The Hurricanes have another rising star on their team in 19-year-old Andrei Svechnikov, who has 54 points in 58 games this season.

That’s a pretty formidable two-headed monster for the Hurricanes to go along with others like Teuvo Teravainen and Dougie Hamilton. They have a very balanced and deep roster.

For the Predators they’re also getting contributions from all over the roster, finally.

When you look at the scoring leaders on the Predators, you see a lot of balance. Filip Forsberg still leads the team in goals with 18, but you have eight other players with double-digit goals.

Roman Josi has kept up his pace of averaging around a point per game as he’s up to 57 points and easily leads the team in that category.

Juuse Saros has become the primary options in net for Nashville as he’s been playing much better over the last six or so games.

We’ll get you a projected lineup as it’s announced by the team site.

Busy schedule ahead

The Predators have six games in the next ten days. After that they’ll open up March with four games in seven days, including three division matchups.

There’s a lot of games left for the Predators to either keep surging, or fall backward once again. Winning three out of every four remains to be the needed pace to eventually catch either Arizona or Calgary for a wildcard spot.

The Predators also have a ton of division games remaining to really move ahead, and even make a run at a top-three spot. That’s a long shot, but not completely out of reach.

There’s five of the next six at home, including tonight’s game with Carolina. Some opportunities to boost the home record that hasn’t been very impressive so far this year.

The Predators are just 13-11-4 at home this season after going 25-14-2 last season at home.

I’m expecting a high-scoring affair tonight between the Predators and Hurricanes. You have two teams in the top-half of the NHL in goals per game, and plenty of great offensive players on both sides.

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Puck drop is 7 P.M. CDT and will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee and can also be streamed on ESPN+ and the Fox Sports Go app.