One point that almost everyone wants to make about this year's Nashville Predators is that they need to get off to a good start, that relying on another late-season surge to make the playoffs isn't going to work.
The question, however, becomes twofold. First, is it really true that the Preds have gotten off to slow starts lately, and secondly, what is a realistic expectation for an October record this season?
Here's the kind of start that Nashville has accomplished in recent years (October records):
- 2005: 8-1-1
- 2006: 7-3-1
- 2007: 4-7-0
- 2008: 5-4-1
So what will it take this time around to consider October a successful month? The schedule shapes up as follows:
- Saturday, 10/3 @ Dallas
- Thursday, 10/8 vs. Colorado
- Saturday, 10/10 vs. Buffalo
- Monday, 10/12 vs. Edmonton
- Wednesday, 10/14 at Dallas
- Thursday, 10/15 vs. Chicago
- Saturday, 10/17 at Washington
- Wednesday, 10/21 at Boston
- Thursday, 10/22 at Ottawa
- Saturday, 10/24 at Chicago
- Wednesday, 10/28 at Minnesota
- Thursday, 10/29 vs. Chicago
- Saturday, 10/13 vs. Dallas
With 13 games on tap, this will be the busiest October in franchise history, tying the 13 games they played in 2001. 9 of these games are bunched together in Wednesday-Thursday-Saturday sets, so I wouldn't be surprised to see some lineup-juggling and alternating goaltenders, in order to manage the heavy workload.
There's quite a mixture of games they should be expected to win (at home against Colorado and Dallas), and ones that represent an uphill battle (at Washington and Boston). So what's your idea of a solid record? Personally, I think if they can get through these 13 games with 12 or more points (6-7-0, 5-6-2, etc.) I think that's a decent accomplishment. Anything better than that I would take as money in the bank, before a more favorable November, which includes 8 out of 13 games at home.