After having mopped the ice with the Chicago Blackhawks last night, the Nashville Predators will try to carry forward some positive momentum as they face three more Original Six opponents this week. With a 9-9-2 record, the Preds sit in last place in the Central Division, two points behind Winnipeg & Dallas pending tonight's action. Can they climb back towards playoff contention against three Eastern Conference foes?
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Tuesday at Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings (9-5-7, 4th in the Atlantic Division) are currently riding a six-game losing streak (although the last five were OT/SO losses), and have a pathetic 3-2-6 record on home ice. Can the Predators keep their old rivals on the skids, or will they prove to be slump-busters like they were last week to the Islanders & Penguins?
Leading the way for Detroit is Henrik Zetterberg, who once again is racking up production at a point-per-game pace:
#40 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings
Oct 09, 1980
|2013 - Henrik Zetterberg||21||10||13||23||+9||4||1||0||1||77||13.0|
Thursday at Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs (12-7-1, 3rd in the Atlantic) are enjoying a successful season so far, but are currently decimated down the middle due to injuries to Dave Bolland and Tyler Bozak. The Predators will visit them right in the middle of a 5-game home stand, as they expect to welcome their most talented center, Nazem Kadri, back into the lineup after a 3-game suspension for running Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom.
Preds fans, of course, will longingly look at Toronto's leading scorer and wonder what might have been, if the Predators had been successful in landing him when Boston put him on the trading block a few years ago:
#81 / Right Wing / Toronto Maple Leafs
Oct 02, 1987
|2013 - Phil Kessel||20||10||9||19||+4||15||3||0||3||73||13.7|
Saturday vs New York Rangers
It's another Saturday night in Smashville on November 23rd as the New York Rangers (10-9-0, 3rd in the Metropolitan Division) come to town. The Blueshirts have found their stride under new head coach Alain Vignault, and have won 7 of their last 9 games.
The big question is whether we'll see a familiar face hit the ice at Bridgestone Arena wearing enemy colors as Rick Nash is hoped to return from Injured Reserve this week, and could make his first visit here as a New York Ranger.
#61 / Right Wing / New York Rangers
Jun 16, 1984
|2013 - Rick Nash||3||0||3||3||0||5||0||0||0||9||0.0|
So what are your expectations for the week? Two more games on the road and one at home against decent, but not outstanding opponents provides opportunity for Nashville to make up some of the ground lost recently. Vote in the poll and make your projection in the comments below!
More from On the Forecheck:
- Sunday's Dump & Chase: The Cost of a Game (Blackhawks Fan Edition)
- Nashville Predators 7, Chicago Blackhawks 2: Home Sweet Home
- Bridgestone Arena Bag Policy: Be Prepared
- Who Gets the Blame? David Poile, or Barry Trotz?
- Buffalo Sabres Fire GM Darcy Regier & Head Coach Ron Rolston: Might Nashville's Paul Fenton Get His Chance?