The Predators continue their “best of 19″ series and their final seven games when they take on the Detroit Red Wings in a afternoon matinee in what could be THE biggest game of the Predators season.
Looking at the Wings: The Wings come into this game dropping 5 of their past six while they are nursing some serious injuries on their way to another playoff birth in their illustrious history. However, as they nurse their players back to health, they are also seeing their once 10-12 point division lead now dwindle down to only 4 points. 4 points separate Nashville and Detroit and both teams seem to be going in different directions right now. Detroit comes in with their major star Pavel Datsyuk still hurting (which makes me believe he’s hurt much worse than the team is leading everyone to believe), as well as Mike Modano hurting a bit and primary goaltender Jimmy Howard (who IS expected to play against Nashville)
Looking at the Predators: Nashville had one of the best months of March in their entire franchise history, going 10-3-2 and nearly locking their 6th franchise playoff birth (and 6th in 7 years) as well. While the Predators are almost a lock to be in the playoffs, they still have a bit of work cut out for them to get there. That work starts at 2pm against the Detroit Red Wings. Nashville can clinch as early as Sunday night (winning against Detroit and with 2 regulation losses from Dallas on Sat/Sun), however they have a larger opportunity at hand: The Central Division championship. If the Predators can grab 4+ points and hope the Wings just keep on losing, they will be the FOURTH Central Division team to secure the division title from the current division alignment and only the fifth total time the Red Wings haven’t won the title. Here’s a fun fact about the Central Division champion:
In the past 3 seasons, the Stanley Cup Finals have showcased the Central Division champion (DET, DET, CHI).
For the Wings to win: Play Red Wing hockey. The Wings, right now, aren’t playing the hockey we all know they can play. A lot of it has to do with injuries, yes, however at the same time look at the Predators? Riddled with injuries and still playing well. However, the Wings main problem is their goaltending. Whoever is in goal for the Wings NEEDS to stand on their head for Detroit to have a chance. This is the ONLY way they win
For the Predators to win: Finish a game. 60 minutes, Nashville, 60 minutes. The Predators have gone back to their “let’s play two periods and then hope for the best” tactics as of the last two games and it has to cease. Nashville has to learn that to win games and to keep them from giving the fans heartattacks, they have to play the ENTIRE game. If the Preds can play 60 minutes and get great goaltending as usual, no chance they lose this game.
Prediction: 4-1 Predators. Nashville knows how to play against Detroit. The only loss they had against the Wings this year came in October when all of the Predators injuries started and some of our rookies had never played against the Wings or in Joe Louis Arena. However…that’s all changed, and that’s why the Preds have won 4 straight against the Wings. They will make it 5.
Playoff Outlook: 94 points, Currently, 6th place/tied for 5th – 2 point out of 4th, 4 points out of 2nd
Best of 19 Record: 10-3-2
BEST OF SEVEN Record: 2-1-0
What SportsClubStats Says?: 97.5% chance the Predators make it. The Predators need 99+ points to secure a playoff spot. They are currently 5 points out of a possible 8 points behind that
WHO TO ROOT FOR?:
NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs Detroit Red Wings
LOS ANGELES KINGS vs Dallas Stars
SAN JOSE SHARKS vs Anaheim Ducks
WHICH TEAMS CANNOT CATCH THE PREDATORS IN THE STANDINGS?:
Minnesota Wild – Max possible points are 92 (ELIMINATED)
St. Louis Blues – Max possible points are 91 (ELIMINATED)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Max possible points are 89 (ELIMINATED)
Colorado Avalanche – Max possible points are 76 (ELIMINATED)
Edmonton Oilers - Max possible points are 67 (ELIMINATED)
Thanks for reading!