Central Division Power Rankings: Nashville Predators Fall Back

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) celebrates a goal against the Dallas Stars during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) celebrates a goal against the Dallas Stars during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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David Savard #58 of the Columbus Blue Jackets watches as Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

Colin Blouin’s Rankings (@colinblouin)

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 1)

2. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 5)

3. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 2)

4. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 4)

5. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 3)

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 6)

7. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 7)

8. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 8)

Well, the standings are hard to tell this story, but Tampa Bay still looks like the cream of the crop and can score at all levels. Until they get knocked down a peg or two, I still have them on top.

Though they lost to Columbus, they still look like the Stanley Cup champs – rough nights happen.

Dallas meanwhile looked lethal with a one-two punch that can make you pay. They exposed many flaws in the Nashville Predators, and though they were about even in 5 on 5, their special teams looked deadly; that may be more indicative of the Predators than of Dallas.

Carolina is a very talented team, and they don’t let off the gas – unfortunately they did have an outbreak within the team that led to putting a pause on their season. They beat the Predators in the first half of their two game series before the second half was postponed, but they look more susceptible than I initially thought, and Nashville actually looked very good in spite of the loss.

That brings me to the “bubble” of the division. Right now, after the exposure of just how very bad the Predator’s special team are, I think they see themselves on the outside looking in unless they get it figured out, and for me, that puts the Panthers ahead of them.

Sure, the Panthers have only played two games at home, but until they lose or we see them against Nashville, they’re ahead in my book.

Nashville…woof. It would be one thing if Dallas’ goaltending was the reason we couldn’t convert on the powerplay, but the Predators never really challenged much in that area, and never got second chance opportunities.

Sloppy entry into the zone means the offense is going nowhere on the power play. The penalty kill? Well, a lackadaisical effort like that can’t make you a contender. 5 on 5, the team actually looks decent, but they fail to show the intensity they need consistently, and in all three periods.

Columbus has shown signs of rising. Maybe the blockbuster trade they just made will make them a contender, but time will tell. One must question whether Pierre Luc Dubois was the problem and a cancer in the locker room, or if John Tortorella’s history as, well, not exactly a “players coach” is the real reason for concern.

Chicago and Detroit I go back and forth. Detroit seems like they are still in their rebuild and not ready to put it together, but they show flashes. Chicago is not only experiencing rebuild woes, but also injury too. I go back and forth with these two, but I give the slight edge to Detroit for who they’ve beaten. Either way, the bottom of the division is ugly.

Predlines Composite Rankings

1. Tampa Bay Lightning (Last Week: 1)

2. Dallas Stars (Last Week: 4)

3. Carolina Hurricanes (Last Week: 3)

4. Florida Panthers (Last Week: 5)

5. Nashville Predators (Last Week: 2)

6. Columbus Blue Jackets (Last Week: 6)

7. Chicago Blackhawks (Last Week: 8)

8. Detroit Red Wings (Last Week: 7)

light. Related Story. Take Your Hand Away from the Rip Chord Predators Fans

The Predlines crew is in full agreement with the top-four this week. We’re also all in agreement that the Predators were a little overrated last week after opening the season with a two-game sweep over Columbus.

The Florida Panthers move into the coveted fourth spot, which will probably come down to the last game of the season to decide who gets it.

The Red Wings and Blackhawks keep alternating for last place, but the Predators now have to face the Blackhawks. If they lose both of those, then that lonely fall into last place with Detroit will be likely.