The Predators begin their “best of 19″ series through the rest of the season, and they start with Edmonton. This also begins the best month of hockey for the Predators, Super March (or Smarch, as I will call it). However, what looms is nothing short of a terrifying schedule. The Predators will play 15 of these 19 games against teams that are in the playoff hunt in their respective conference. SO, every game IS a playoff game (whether the team is in the hunt or trying to play spoiler).
We start with Game 1 of this Best of 19 series tonight.
Looking at the Edmonton: It’s there again, that smell…oh wait, that’s the same smell that has lingered for over a year in Edmonton, the smell of defeat. This team stunk it up last year, is doing the same this year, and was stripped of even more talent yesterday when veteran forward and Edmonton “Predator”-killer Dustin Penner was shipped off to the L.A. Kings. What’s even more depressing is that they’ve had a whopping 8 wins in all of the calendar year of 2011 so far as they have churned a 8-18-1 record since the turn of the year and a 1-3 record in their past 4 games. BUT, in that 8-18-1 record, there is a 1-0-1 record…against the Nashville Predators.
Looking at the Predators: The Predators are coming in after stopping a 4-game skid against fellow playoff contender, Columbus Blue Jacket in a…wait for it…3-2 win. WHOA! Look at that stat there, 3 goals is the winner! Imagine that. It’s safe to say that THIS team HAS to have 3 goals to win, which is a very telling stat. The problem? How to get those 3 goals. The Predators have two things that are going for them right now: Overly excited youth and underachieving veterans. If the kids can become men, and the old guard can start becoming consistent, this team will go from looking like a lower seed to showing everyone why this team can really be dangerous. The talent is there and so is the firepower, they just have to unleash the fury.
For the Oilers to win: Keep playing like they do against the Predators. In their past 10 games against the Predators they are 3-5-2, BUT are averaging 3.3 goals a game against one of the more defensively-stingy teams in the NHL. How do they do that? They play a rough style that knocks the Predators off their game and almost forces the Predators to play at their level…which is what they want. Play the Edmonton Oiler way and put that pressure on, that’s the only way they are going to push the Predators off their game
For the Predators to win: The Predators are looking to avenge what may have been the WORST loss of the 2010-2011 season when they got whipped 4-0 against the Oilers at home earlier in February. How are they going to do that? Goals Goals Goals Goals Goals. They are averaging 3.3 goals as well (wow…that’s crazy) in their past 10 games against the Oilers. There is that magic number again, 3 GOALS. The Predators are going to need to come out QUICK and get at least one goal in the first 10 minutes of this game and they are going to need their newest acquisition, Mike Fisher, to start bringing a little offensive punch to this lineup, as this team definitely needs consistency. If this team finds consistency, it’s opponents better watch out.
Prediction: NONE. I’m superstitious, and now 1-1 when not making predictions. That will continue through Smarch.
Playoff Outlook: 72 points, Currently, 10th place – 1 point out of 8th and 2 points out of a three-way tie for 5th
Best of 19 Record: 0-0-0
Smarch Record: 0-0-0
I put these here because it’s time to keep up with our playoff outlook, our record through this “Best of 19″ series, and our record in Smarch. We’re 18-8-5 in the past two seasons in my birthday month, so let’s hope that record keeps up
Thanks for reading!