We’re about 50 days away from the Nashville Predators season-opener from Prague, Czechia against the San Jose Sharks. It will be a back-to-back international clash with the Sharks to open 2022-23.
The full 82-game schedule for the Predators has been released, and we’re going to take a look at the highlights of the and the must-watch games with the biggest storylines.
With a busy offseason of adding veterans Ryan McDonagh and Nino Niederreiter, along with avoiding the disaster or losing Filip Forsberg, there’s a lot of hope and promise for the Nashville Predators in 2022-23. The most preseason optimism I’ve had for the team since 2018 following the Presidents Trophy season.
Toughest matchups and games to circle on Nashville Predators schedule
The Predators will play their home-opener from Bridgestone Arena on October 13 against the Dallas Stars after getting a four-day break to travel back from overseas.
This is a great way to open up the home schedule from Nashville as we’re talking about two division rivals that have been attached at the the hip over the past few seasons. Expect the Stars and Predators to once again be close in the standings.
The Predators will then travel to Dallas for another matchup with them, making their first four games against the Sharks and Stars. A decent opportunity to start 4-0-0 if you’re taking care of business against opponents you’re better than on paper.
October will round out with two very difficult tests at home against the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals. They will only play two true road games in the opening month.
November looks to be a gaunlent beginning with a five-game road trip starting in Canada against the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Vancouver Canucks. Very tough stretch there.
An upstart Seattle Kraken team entering their second season as a franchise will be up next, followed by the first rematch with the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche. Five-game stretches don’t get much more daunting than that.
However, after that the Predators will play a stint of eight of nine at home, with their toughest matchups in that cluster of games being the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche for a second time.
November looks like the most difficult month on paper with 14 games in 30 days, and nine of those against Western Conference opponents.
The Predators will get a five-day break in early December before hitting the road for their second tilt with the Tampa Bay Lightning, a series that’s been dominated by the Lightning in recent memory.
Two more matchups with the Avalanche will be in December, and the Predatrs will also have Central Division clashes with the Blues, Stars, Jets and Blackhawks.
I’ve already been on record of feeling confident the Predators can push for second place in the division this year, with the Blues being the main competitor. Even so, a top-three finish is completely attainable, but obviously December is a big month with so many division games.
January features an even number of home and road games, with the All Star break beginning after a home game against the New Jersey Devils.
After the All Star break, the Predators will open up the grind at home against the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that looks much different and less of a threat than they’ve ever looked in their existence. Still a team that is postseason caliber, but a team the Predators should be able to match up well with.
The Predators will also get their first look at the Arizona Coyotes’ new temporary home arena at Arizona State on February 26, which is reportedly only going to hold around 5,000 fans. That will be an interesting sight to witness an NHL game.
To round out February, those pesky Pittsburgh Penguins will pay a visit to Bridgestone Arena. I always have that home date circled on th calendar.
The grueling grind post-All Star break
By this time we’ll know exactly where the Nashville Predators are heading in terms of the playoff push. Injuries usually start piling up, and you have to dig deep. Every team’s depth is tested by this point of the schedule.
Some games that stand out in March are challenging road tests against the Florida Panthers, New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Ten road games in total for this month, and six at home. The Predators will weclome two old time rivals to Bridgestone Arena in three days with the Blackhawks and Red Wings.
Seven games in April will round out the regular season, with the season finale interestingly enough at home against the Minnesota Wild. A team I fully believe the Predators will have to go toe-to-toe with all season to stay out of the wildcard and in the top-three. That matchup could very well be for a coveted playoff position.
April is going to put this Predators team through the grinder to close it out with matchups agains the Blues, Stars, Golden Knights and Hurricanes. A make-or-break run of games.
Judging just by paper and preseason expectations, the Nashville Predators have a solid chance to get off to a strong start with winnable games they should be favored in for October. November looks like the month with the highest degree of difficulty.