The Nashville Predators surprise season rolls on after the All Star break, in which the team off an eight-day hiatus with a loss to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night.
The thing is, it is not going to get much easier throughout the rest of the month. There are only six more games on the schedule, and none of them should be particularly easy opponents to deal with, either.
It’s going to be difficult for the Nashville Predators to keep their spot in the playoff race, with the Minnesota Wild one point behind with five games in hand, and the St. Louis Blues being three points behind with three games in hand.
There is little room for error moving forward, especially with the division foes breathing down their necks. Just the slightest losing streak can knock you two spots back in the next set of games.
February could make or break the season for the Nashville Predators
Of the six games remaining for the Predators during the month of February, four of them are against playoff teams, and two of them include in-division games, which are always a challenge.
Also, it’s not like any of these games will be even slightly easy, as they feature the Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Dallas Stars once again.
For a team like the Predators, that is about as grueling of a schedule as it can get. It will also show just how legitimate the Predators are against opponents that have high Stanley Cup asipirations.
We are at a point in the season where the playoff picture is starting to be taken quite seriously, and if the Predators go on a big losing streak, that could derail the success that they have built all year that once even had them in first place.
On the flip side, if they continue to win, that would be the statement of legitimacy that they need in order to generate momentum and finish March and April strong. Adding wins over teams like Florida and Carolina would really take notice around the league.
Even then, the Predators have to make sure that they avoid using all of their energy with two months left on the schedule afterwards, and that they do not get complacent if they come out of February with a strong record. There are many implications that this month could have on the rest of the team’s season.
The Nashville Predators have shown they can beat anyone
The good news is that it is not all bad for the Predators right now. For a team that is known for being able to overcome adversity, a challenge like this is nothing completely out of the ordinary.
Not only that, but the Predators oftentimes play their best hockey the tougher the occasion gets. But the danger of falling back into th wildcard race remains if the Predators stumble this month.
With their hopes for a top-three spot in the Central Division hanging by a thread, they will be motivated to bring their best effort every night, especially because there are so few opportunities to do so.
And with this many important games on the schedule, it is likely that Juuse Saros is going to start every night. Luckily for him, all of these games are very well spread out, so he should be fresh and ready to go every night.
The next seven games could end up saying a lot about the Nashville Predators, but their track record shows that they know how to deal with a stretch like this. As has been stated before, you can never count them out, and this is no exception.
The Nashville Predators will return home to take on the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday in what will be their third meeting of the season. The Predators won the last meeting on January 20 in a 5-2 convincing win. This will wrap up the season series with them.