A battle to stay in the top four this week will be on the line. Nashville has three home games with teams in front or chasing them in the conference. Regulation wins is a must this week against these opponents. Regulation wins put both San Jose and Phoenix further behind Nashville. Also regulation wins keeps the pressure on Detroit to keep winning.
The San Jose Sharks come to town which shapes up to be a battle for the fourth place spot if only for Tuesday night. I prefer to see the Sharks as our nemesis and not our rival. If the Predators were Batman, the Sharks are the Joker. The Predators focus on defense and more defense. The Sharks are the opposite. Offense and more offense except for this year. The Sharks have not be the offensive juggernaut they have been in the past. A change in focus on being a more defensive team and not overwhelm opponents with offensive skill has been their approach for this season. The Preds have won both games by one goal this season. A regulation win Tuesday night will give Nashville a three point lead with a game in hand. An opportunity to win the season series Tuesday night.
Thursday night the top team in the league comes to the Bridgestone arena. The Vancouver Canucks have shown a toughness to keep winning games even with their depleted defense corps. They are without four defenseman to include Dan Hamhuis. Hamhuis was knocked out by an elbow last week and no timetable has been set for his return. Overall team depth is the reason the Canucks beat the Preds in January. Nashville was in the game the last time these two teams met. It will be the third game in four days for Vancouver on this road trip. A loss in Nashville will make the flight back home even longer.
The Phoenix Coyotes come to Smashville Saturday night. Right now they are behind the Predators but it is possible they could be in first place in their division by Saturday night. The two teams are tied at 67 points. Phoenix is one point behind the Dallas Stars for the division lead. The amazing turnaround of this franchise continues. From bankruptcy to a franchise first 50 win season last year. The Coyotes have kept their winning ways this season hot on the Predators and the Stars heels for a top four playoff spot. Powered by J.P. Dumont's fourth career hat trick the Preds beat them 5-2 in Phoenix. For the Coyotes, this is game one of a five game road trip. Saturday night is the last time these two team meet unless it is in the playoffs. Smashville will be rocking again Saturday night.
February 7th 4 points anticipated. 4 points obtained. A nice bounce back by the team with wins in Detroit and over Colorado after a disappointing home loss to Edmonton on Monday.
Anticipated points: 5 Why five? Odds are there will be a dreaded three point game this week. A three point game is better than a regulation loss for the Preds and their opponents this week. For the loser one point is always better than zero.