Sizing up the Homestand: Nashville Predators Return to Home Sweet Home

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the second period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the second period against the Seattle Kraken at Climate Pledge Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /

After an absolute brutal and humbling road trip out West, the Nashville Predators are coming home and will play just one road game spanning over the next three weeks.

Let’s hope that getting back to the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena will be just what the doctor ordered, because the Predators have fallen to 5-8-0 on the season and last place in the Central Division.

Five of the next nine home games will come against division opponents, giving the Predators an opportunity to make up some ground and help us forget about the road trip that ended in a 1-4-0 record and being outscored 21-14.

Up until the last two losses to Calgary and Winnipeg, the Predators were showing fight and promise even in their losses. The problem was they’re taking losses in regulation and failing to even get a point, putting them behind the 8-ball in the division race as of now.

The Predators have only played five homes games so far in 2023-24, having wins over Seattle, San Jose and Toronto.

Up next the Nashville Predators will host the Arizona Coyotes, a team that’s on the up and up and no longer the division doormat. They have some serious offensive weapons in Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz and rookie phenom Logan Cooley, while also having reliable goaltending in Karel Vejmelka and Connor Ingram.

What Has to Change for the Nashville Predators to Turn Things Around?

Well, the biggest issue that plagues this team is having really bad spurts in games that they can’t recover from. They have to get back to the basic, trust the gameplan from Head Coach Andrew Brunette and not let their emotions get out of whack when things don’t go their way.

Coming back home to Bridgestone Arena, the Predators can return to setting the tone and being the aggressors instead of far too often chasing the game, as Brunette described following the latest loss to the Winnipeg Jets.

“We were chasing the game, and in this league, it makes it tough. We just kind of ran out of time to get to our game completely and regroup.” HC Andrew Brunette told Team’s Official Website

This team just needs some good mojo to come their way, and the quickest way to that is finishing on the power play again. They were starting to build something in that area even for part of this road trip, but things dried up against Calgary and Winnipeg.

Looking at the upcoming schedule that starts with Arizona, there will be opportunities to play against other teams that are young and inexperienced.

Furthermore, the Predators just simply aren’t testing the other goaltenders nearly enough. You can have all of the flashy passing and quick rushes up the ice you want, but if you’re not getting quality looks to go along with a high quantity of shots, it’s going to be hard to beat any goalie in this league.

The Predators only had 15 shots on goal going into the third period against Winnipeg when the game was already out of hand, and managed just 18 shots on goal total against Calgary.

At the beginning of 2023-24, Arizona and Anaheim had two of the youngest average rosters in the NHL. Both teams have faired pretty well in the early going coming in the middle of the pack in their respective divisions.

Why this Homestand Can Make or Break the Season

This is a long stretch of playing at home coming up for the Predators. They have to come out of this winning at least six of nine games at home to make up for the failed road trip. That can offset some of the missed opportunities on the road.

I see winnable games coming up if the Predators play to their top capabilities like they’ve shown us in wins over the New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Even in some of their losses, like to the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks, they’ve had chances to win those games.

Arizona, Anaheim and Chicago won’t be easy by any means, but the Predators can go toe-to-toe with those teams and come out on top. But a theme over the first month of the NHL season is that anyone can beat anyone. Just throw your pregame notes in the trash.

The Predators are currently in last place in the division, but are four points from being in fourth place. That can make up ground with a strong homestand.

Hot. Predators Have Two Options on the Table for Philip Tomasino. light

Three rematches will occur during this next nine home games, with the Predators looking to get revenge over Calgary and Winnipeg, and will host the New York Rangers. They’ll also have their first matchups against division rivals Chicago and Colorado on this homestand.

Connor Bedard will make his first trip to Bridgestone Arena, while the loaded Avalanche will ride in with superstars Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar.

The lone road game in the next 10 games will take the Predators to St. Louis to battle the Blues.

At some point during this upcoming homestand the Predators hope to get Cody Glass back on the ice. He has missed action since October 19 and is currently on Injured Reserve.

Ryan McDonagh also missed three of the five games on the road trip and that paved the way for Marc Del Gaizo to make his NHL debut and proceeded to already register three assists in three games.

If it’s an unsuccessful homestand where the Predators come out with a losing record and more of the same issues, then calls for trades will really start amplifying.