Tomorrow night the Predators will go to Philadelphia to play one of the teams that are currently dreaming about landing Ryan Suter, the Philadelphia Flyers.
Nashville won the previous meeting with Philadelphia 4-2 and are on a five game winning streak overall (going 13-2 in their last 15 games). Riding the momentum of their recent success, the Predators hope to sweep the season series with the Flyers and gain ground in the standings. In their last meeting, Pekka Rinne snagged a whopping 36 saves, with a save rate of 95%.
Hopefully Suter can show the Philadelphia faithful what they will be (cross your fingers) missing out on this season and many seasons down the line. Philadelphia’s front office (as every front office should) has been looking around for ways to potentially get better in-season to make a run at the Stanley Cup. They may or may not believe that Suter is a part of those plans. Too bad for them.
The Predators will be tested over the next couple of weeks, as they face some very tough teams, some of whom are virtual locks for the playoffs, and in order to be in optimal postion at the end of the season, Nashville cannot afford to slip up now.
As of this afternoon, the Predators find themselves second in the Central division with 66 points, three points behind the division and conference leading Detroit Red Wings, but only one point ahead of fellow divisional rivals St. Louis and Chicago.
Five game forecast:
Here are the next five opponents the Predators will be facing:
Tomorrow night – @Philadelphia
2/4 vs. St. Louis
2/7 vs. Vancouver
Games to watch:
Because we always need something to keep our attention in period breaks, as well as before and after the game, here are a few matchups to keep an eye on that could affect the Predators (either immediately or down the road).
Detroit @ Vancouver Thursday 9:00 p.m. CDT- As mentioned above, Detroit is leading the Western Conference with 69 points, but Vancouver is in second with 66. Although it’s tough to root for Vancouver, that’s always made easier when they’re playing Detroit. Throw in the fact that it would be most beneficial to the Predators for Vancouver to keep pace, and that’s just icing on the cake. Also, keep in mind that the Predators are still technically chasing the Canucks as well, so this could be a win-win situation for the Predators.
Chicago @ Edmonton Thursday 8:30 p.m. CDT – Chicago sits only one point behind the Predators, which means Nashville fans should be keeping an eye on all of the Blackhawks’ games. It goes without saying that Predators fans will root for them to lose because, well, they’re the Blackhawks. But with the standings on the line, it means a little bit more.
Dallas @ San Jose Thursday 9:30 p.m. CDT – Although the Predators are technically four points ahead of the Sharks, due to the way the standings are configured, the Predators wind up in fourth place, while the Sharks are in third. Either way, the Sharks have a good team and will be making noise in the stretch run of the season, so Nashville fans sould be aware.
Los Angeles @ St. Louis Friday 7:00 p.m. CDT – St. Louis is tied with Chicago at 65 points, breathing down the Predators neck. While Nashville will have opportunities to gain ground on these teams by playing them head-to-head in the near future, it never hurts to see them fall to other teams as well. Los Angeles is still lingering in the standings at 58 points, and are still well within striking distance.
Western Conference Standings at a glance:
|Place||Team||Games Played||Wins||Losses||OT Losses||Points|