A record of 9-5-5 in their last 19 games has brought the Nashville Predators to within 4 points of the final Western Conference playoff spot, although the number of teams right around them in the standings results in just a 5.2% chance of making it, according to SportsClubStats.com. Welcome to the NHL, where you can lose more often than you win but still make progress!
One important thing for the Preds, however, is that even if they fail to make the playoffs, just being in the hunt will provide a valuable learning experience for the younger players on this roster, such as Seth Jones and, um... Seth Jones. Hey, it's better than playing out the string the way last season went, isn't it?
Let's take a look at this week's opponents...
Thursday at Minnesota Wild
Current holders of the West's first wildcard spot, the Wild have been faring well despite the absence of Josh Harding & Mikko Koivu due to injury. As one of the teams that Nashville is chasing, this game takes on added importance, and it will also serve as a preview for the Winter Olympics, as both Zach Parise (C) and Ryan Suter (A) have been named part of the leadership group for Team USA.
The Preds are 1-2-0 against their new division rivals, with the two losses coming via shutout.
Saturday vs Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks ave been the sensation of this NHL season, leading the league with a 40-12-5 record that includes a league-best road 18-9-3 mark. As usual, the dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf & Corey Perry are leading the way, but Anaheim is also getting outstanding production from younger forwards Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano. Saturday night, they'll return to the Bridge for their final visit this season, meaning it'll be our last chance to catch Teemu Selanne in action, as he's rounding out his NHL farewell tour.
In their only previous meeting this season, on January 9th, the Ducks took a 4-3 decision at Bridgestone Arena as Perry, Getzlaf and Selanne did all the damage for Anaheim.
|St. Louis Blues||54||37-12-5||79|
|San Jose Sharks||56||35-15-6||76|
|Los Angeles Kings||57||30-21-6||66|
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