The Predators continue their “best of 19″ series and their final seven games when they take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in their home season finale. With a win the Predators will officially be in the playoffs
Looking at the Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets just can’t catch a break. They’ve won only 3 times total since their last visit to Nashville (Feb. 27th, a 3-2 loss where they gave up all 3 goals in the final period). In that span, they’ve been shut out 4 times and lost in overtime 7 times (OT or SO). What’s worse? Their special teams. Their powerplay has scored only FOUR times since doubling up on the Predators on February 27th (4-65, 6.1%) and their penalty kill has given up TWELVE goals since then (12-59, 79.7%). Columbus has been spiraling out of control and they now stand in the way of the Predators and a playoff spot. Is it just going to get worse?
Looking at the Predators: The complete opposite of the Jackets. The Predators have only lost 3 times in regulation since that Feb. 27th win (11-3-3). In that span, they haven’t been shut out at all and have scored 3+ goals in all but 5 games since. Their special teams are doing decent enough, but could use some work. Nashville’s powerplay has scored 9 times (9-55, 16.4%) and their penalty kill has only allowed EIGHT goals total (8-47, 83%). If Nashville can take care of business tonight against Columbus, then they’re in the playoffs. It’s that simple.
For the Blue Jackets to win: It’s going to be tough, to be honest. Nashville is going to want this win and want it bad. However, if Columbus can overwhelm the Nashville defense and if Steve Mason can unveil his Calder Trophy-winning version of himself for even only one more game, then Columbus stands a chance to play spoiler against Nashville.
For the Predators to win: Take care of business. Nashville knows what is at stake and as long as they can keep their third period woes under wraps, then they shouldn’t have much of a problem. Nashville HAS NOT lost to Columbus IN Nashville in 16 straight games, there is no reason this should change. Not just because the Predators have owned Columbus here in Nashville, but because the Preds need to make an example of Columbus. They need to use this game as a stepping stone to the playoffs and show the rest of the NHL what the team that meets the Preds in the first round has in store for them
Prediction: 5-0 Predators. It’s going to be “taco time” in Nashville tonight as the Predators take care of business and clinch their 6th playoff spot
Playoff Outlook: 97 points, Currently, 5th place – 1 point behind 4th
Best of 19 Record: 11-3-3
BEST OF SEVEN Record: 3-2
What SportsClubStats Says?: 98.5% chance the Predators make it. The Predators need either 1 point in tonights game OR an Avalanche win against Dallas tonight
WHO TO ROOT FOR?:
NASHVILLE PREDATORS vs Columbus Blue Jackets
COLORADO AVALANCHE vs Dallas Stars
ANAHEIM DUCKS vs Los Angeles Kings
DETROIT RED WINGS vs Chicago Blackhawks
Phoenix Coyotes vs SAN JOSE SHARKS
WHICH TEAMS CANNOT CATCH THE PREDATORS IN THE STANDINGS?:
***Dallas Stars – Max possible points are 97 (4 points from being eliminated)
Calgary Flames – Max possible points are 95 (ELIMINATED)
St. Louis Blues – Max possible points are 87 (ELIMINATED)
Minnesota Wild – Max possible points are 86 (ELIMINATED)
Columbus Blue Jackets – Max possible points are 85 (ELIMINATED)
Colorado Avalanche – Max possible points are 70 (ELIMINATED)
Edmonton Oilers - Max possible points are 65 (ELIMINATED)
*** = On the fringe of not catching the Predators
CLINCHING SCENARIOS FOR THE PREDATORS
Tuesday, April 5th: Dallas loss in regulation coupled with a Nashville W/OTW/OTL (Dallas max points possible would be 95, Preds would have at least 96)
Thanks for reading!