The Nashville Predators have played 46 of 82 games in the 2022-2023 NHL Season. With a record of 23-18-6 they find themselves three points outside the third and final position in the Central Division, behind the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche.
Over their past five games, the Nashville Predators have three wins over current playoff teams. Their latest being a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets.
After starting the season 10-9-2 over the first two months of the season, the streaky Nashville Predators have only lost nine games in regulation in their past 26 outings. So, they have started to turn things around and are picking up points in the close playoff race.
When it comes to the Wild Card race, the Pacific Division is a much tighter division with both Western Conference positions being held by Pacific Division teams with the Edmonton Oilers (57 points) and Calgary Flames (55 points) holding those two positions respectively.
Nashville Predators Remaining Schedule
The reported player’s only meeting after the lopsided loss to the Blues last week has really seemed to light a fire under this team. Roman Josi spoke on building momentum, per the team’s official website:
“You don’t want it to be a one-off, I think that’s important for our group. That meeting was really good and we played a really big game [on Saturday], but it’s important to follow that up. We’ve got to get some momentum here.” -Roman Josi on Building Momentum
The Nashville Predators started the first half of the season playing a lot of games on the road.
Through 47 games, they have played 23 on home ice and 24 on the road. Having a 13-7-3 record on home ice has helped them even stay in talks of making the playoffs this season. The record on the road has not been good, however. They’ve posted a record of 10-11-3 in opposing barns.
Five of the Predators last six games have been on home ice and six of their next eight will be played in front of the rowdy fans at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators need to take advantage of this and play well in front of the home crowd.
Looking at the remaining schedule for the Predators, they have 18 games at Bridgestone Arena and 17 on the road. The beginning of March will be huge for the Predators as they have a 12-day, 6-game road trip starting in Florida on March 2 and ending in Anaheim on March 10.
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Of their 36 games remaining the Predators play 24 games against teams who, as of January 25, are ahead of them in the standings and 12 against opponents behind them. Looking at Conference games remaining, the Predators will take the ice against Western Conference teams 23 times and Eastern Conference teams just 13 times.
To finish out the 2022-23 regular season the Predators take on the Winnipeg Jets, Calgary Flames, Minnesota Wild, and Colorado Avalanche. Those four games to close it out will be massive for playoff implications. The first of two of those four games will be played on the road and then the Predators wrap up the regular season with a back-to-back against two huge Central Division rivals.
While the Predators are on the outside looking in coming up on the NHL All-Star break, they have plenty of Divisional and Conference matchups to get the points needed to break into the playoffs and have a chance at the Stanley Cup.
What do the Nashville Predators Need to Do?
The Nashville Predators statistically are not good after a break in play. With the All-Star break coming up and the Predators having a light schedule leading up to and immediately following the break, only playing three games in the next 19 days, that should raise concerns for fans of this up and down team.
After this long break, the Nashville Predators will have a grueling schedule to finish out the season. Starting February 13th against the Arizona Coyotes, the Predators will play 32 games in 61 days.
Looking at their record by scoring, the Nashville Predators have a 11-2-3 record at home and 7-4-2 record on the road when they score the first goal. This is credit to the Predators goaltending led by Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen‘s incredible play and the defense’s ability to play a “lock-down” role when playing with a lead.
With those statistics, it has never been more important for the Predators to get on the board first. While scoring has been a struggle, the first goal has been pivotal in the outcome.
When the opposing team scores first, the Predators only have a 2-5-0 record at home and 3-7-1 on the road. With their most recent win coming at home over the Jets where the Jets got on the board just 48 seconds in.
Overall, the Predators have a 18-6-5 record when they score first and a dismal 4-12-1 record when the opposing team scores first.
Also, the Predators cannot be so reliant on their goalies. The top players need to be the top players for this organization. More scoring needs to come from players such as Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, and even Filip Forsberg.
Will the Nashville Predators Make the Playoffs?
At this point of the season, if their play continues how it has, the answer is no. I do not think that this team will make the playoffs and streak will end at eight consecutive years. However, that can be turned around. Realistically, the Predators have to go somewhere around 20-10-5 over their last 35 games to have a chance.
This roster definitely has the potential to make this happen but, the veteran core and the top players will have to step up, take responsibility for the inconsistent play.
Drastic improvement in the offensive zone, and particularly on the power play, will have to occur down the stretch to keep the playoff streak intact.