Slumping Nashville Predators Have Scary Upcoming Schedule to Deal With

Oct 20, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (back) attempts a save as Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) scores a goal in the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 20, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins (back) attempts a save as Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) scores a goal in the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

If you’re looking for reasons to feel optimistic about the Nashville Predators right now, do yourself a favor and avoid looking at the schedule for the next two weeks.

In the spirit of Halloween next week, the Nashville Predators have what you would call a spooky upcoming schedule as they try to avoid letting this five-game losing streak get into an all-time franchise worst category.

For reference, the last time the Predators lost more than six games in a row was in 2013 when the team lost eight-straight in the shortened lockout season.

With the Predators having power play issues, finishing at the net, and breaking down defensively, the upcoming opponents are a good source of nightmare fuel. If the Predators are going to turn this around, they’re going to have to defeat several quality opponents in the coming weeks.

Players and coaches will always tell you they never look ahead past the next opponent, but that doesn’t mean we can’t. So here we go.

Nashville Predators welcome the Blues to town

Let’s start with tonight’s game against an old friend, the St. Louis Blues. A team that has high expectations to make another deep run in the postseason, and they have certainly started off looking the part.

The Blues have been stingy to score on through their first five games. Jordan Binnington has started four of the five games and is surrendering just a 1.74 GAA and .936 Save Percentage.

The Predators will likely avoid Binnington in net as the Blues are on a back-to-back and will throw out 36-year-old veteran Thomas Greiss. He had to make 42 saves in a losing effort in his only start of the 2022-23 campaign.

With the Blues being on a two-game slump, expect this team to come out firing and the Predators have to be ready to match that. They’ve been reportedly “ramping up the intensity” at practice and Head Coach John Hynes says the team will “be a better hockey team” on Thursday:

All I can say is, you better be a better hockey team whenever the Blues come to town. There’s no doubt from my end that this team has the core talent, and that some key veterans have to start making bigger impacts offensively for this to turn back into a positive direction.

You know who you count on to pull you out of slumps like this? Veteran leaders like Filip Forsberg, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Matt Duchene. To name a few, but definitely doesn’t stop with them.

Can’t overlook the Capitals 

The Capitals might not be one of the top tier Eastern Conference teams like they have been in the past, but they’re still a team that can burn you for a lot of goals if you’re having defensive breakdowns and constantly in the penalty box.

Sounds like a horrible matchup problem for the Predators unless they have indeed corrected these issues in practices over the four-day break.

The Capitals are among the league leaders in Goals per Game at 3.57 and have been opportunistic on the power play with six goals on 24 chances.

I never feel overly confident about a matchup with the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin has six points through seven games, as does John Carlson and Dylan Strome. You also can’t forget about veteran T.J. Oshie who is also off to a productive start offensively.

In net the Capitals will likely have Darcy Kuemper at their disposal and let’s just keep our fingers crossed that the Predators don’t get stymied by a goalie on a Saturday night home game for second weekend in a row.

Preds hit the road for a Canada road trip

If this losing streak carries past the matchups with the Blues and Capitals, then thing will really start getting restless around here. And awaiting you will be Connor McDavid and company, followed by a Calgary Flames team that has Stanley Cup aspirations.

In other words, the Predators better be getting their house in order if you’re catching the theme of this article. The schedule offers no breaks.

The Oilers are a team that you think you have beat and no lead is safe. They just come storming back on you at ease. That gives me nightmares because the Predators have already folded in two third periods this season watching multi-goal leads evaporate against much lesser competition.

Furthermore, we know the Oilers will absolutely make you pay in the penalty box. They cash in on their power plays, while the Predators have shown that all the power play does give us more opportunities to see the team is clearly not on the same page.

The Flames had a rambunctious offseason but came out of it with an elite roster that can hang with anyone in the NHL. It’s another matchup that on paper I give the Predators a very small chance of winning.

With a 5-1-0 record to open the season, the Flames are loaded with deep talent starting with Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau and Andrew Mangiapane. Seriously, Johnny Gaudreau who?

Oh, and they have a Vezina Trophy caliber goaltender in Jacob Markstrom. Just a ridiculously talented roster that might be able to push the Avalanche for Western Conference supremacy.

Finally, the Canada road trip will end against the Vancouver Canucks. Maybe they can pull a win off here, finally. The Canucks have proven to be pretty bad through the early going of the season.

In all seriousness, the Nashville Predators will have to beat some really quality teams in the coming week or two to climb out of this. Nothing is going to be handed to them, and you can forget about getting a couple cheap wins over lesser opponents.

If this losing streak continues through these upcoming games, then you’re going to have to seriously consider making some significant roster decisions and call up some prospects to offer a jolt.

The Nashville Predators have to get the weigh off their shoulders and get about as big of an early season win as you can get on Thursday against the Blues. This team is going to have to dig deep and beat some really good teams in the coming weeks.