The Nashville Predators are a team in disarray that is looking for redemption wherever they can find it. An old foe in the Detroit Red Wings comes to town for a two-game series that begins on Thursday.
The Predators find themselves on a three-game losing streak, and they have lost five of their last six games. Four of those losses have been at the hands of the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning, who sit in the Central Division’s top spot.
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Nashville is sitting in the seventh spot in the standings, only managing to scrape together 10 points. To use an overused term, these next two games are must-wins for the Predators.
Detroit Could Be A Spoiler
The Red Wings sit in the last spot in the Central, having won only three games so far this season. While they have their own set of struggles, they could upset the Predators’ plans to get back on track.
The Red Wings have beat Carolina, Columbus, and Florida. They also gained points in two overtime losses against Dallas and Florida.
If the Predators think that the Red Wings are going to lay down, they are mistaken.
If you can believe it, the Red Wings power-play is worse than the Predators’. They are 4 for 43 and are next to last in the league in PP%. Their xGF sits almost two points above the league average.
The Red Wings have had to deal with some injuries and could be without Bertuzzi and Mantha for the upcoming games against Nashville.
For The Nashville Predators, The Struggle Is Real
No matter how hard they try or how many changes they try to implement, the Predators are a team that is lost at the moment. Granted, they have faced a very tough schedule to begin the season, but the losses are piling up, and the point opportunities are dwindling.
The Predators’ special teams continue to struggle, although the power-play has recently improved a bit. The penalty-kill remains terrible. The Predators’ inability to stay out of the penalty box has cost them leads and games.
The Predators are also struggling to find the back of the net. Several players struggle to score goals and can’t shake off whatever is causing the issue. Filip Forsberg leads the team with six goals but can’t seem to string together two good games in a row.
The inability to carry the puck into the offensive zone, one and done shots on goal, poor defense in front of their goaltender, failure to play a full sixty-minute game, the laundry list of issues that plague the Predators is long.
To make matters worse, the Predators are without two key components in their lineup. Ryan Johansen is on the injured reserve list and is week-to-week. Mattias Ekholm was injured in the second game against the Lightning and is also listed as week-to-week.
It pains me to say this but looking at the stats, the Predators and the Red Wings are pretty evenly matched. Should they be this evenly matched? Absolutely not.
If you had told me before the season started that the Predators would have these many issues and would be on the verge of being in the last place in the Central Division, I would have said you were out of your mind. Yet here we are.
For certain, the Predators desperately need the four points available from these two games against the Red Wings. Even winning in overtime won’t help them much. They must not look past this Detroit team.
If the Predators can’t turn things around in the next few weeks, significant changes could be coming before the trade deadline and in the offseason. Hopefully, they can get these next two wins, gain some momentum, and begin to claw their way up the Central Division standings.