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Are the Predators 'running out of gas', or just getting started?

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11-5-1. If the Nashville Predators could average that record over a month of games, would you take it? I know I would. So I was a bit surprised at what I came across while surfing the hockey blogging scene today, which suggested Nashville might be trending downward. From Brandon Worley of NBC Sports (former SBN head hockey honcho):

The Predators have been one of the more underrated teams this season while they just continue to win and win, but lately it seems like the brutal schedule may be getting to them.


But a tough schedule like what the Predators went through? They'll make it to the playoffs just fine, but they'll have no gas left when they get there.

An interesting statement, that one. There's a couple of things to note here...

  • All NHL teams play the same amount of games (who knew?).
  • Nashville only plays four games from April 1 till the playoffs begin on the 14th.
  • The Predators play just two games in the season's final week, ending the year on Saturday, while most everyone else plays four games and end the year on Sunday.
  • While Brandon notes the shutouts and Dallas loss, what he didn't mention was a 7-2-1 mark in the last ten games of the month. Nothing about that suggests that "the schedule might be getting to them". Never mind that Pekka Rinne is perhaps the hottest goalie in the league not named Jimmy Howard.
Personally, I'm glad our guys are getting their rest leading up to the opening of a playoff series, as opposed to the past two weeks (in which they played 7 games). So thanks all the same, Brandon, but if I were a Western Conference foe, I'd prefer not to play the Preds on five days rest to open the postseason with just four games scattered over the previous two weeks. I think what we're seeing is what any NHL team goes through over the course of a season- a speed bump on the long trek to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.