Over the past few weeks, these previews are beginning to sound very familiar. It is a lot of this needs to change, or the Preds need to do this more often, or the lineups need to be mixed up. Well, now that we are coming to the end of the regular season, it is time to figure it out now.
Get ready for a short preview everyone.
The Minnesota Wild
If you want to talk about the polar opposite of the Preds as of late, you have to talk about the Wild. They have gone 7-3-0 in their last ten games (the three losses were only one goal games) and are surging going into the final few weeks of the season. They are doing a lot of things right and it starts from the back end for the Wild.
Devan Dubnyk has been nearly unbeatable since coming to Minnesota. Out of the 27 games he has started, he has won 20 of them, and 5 of those were shutouts. He has posted an insane 1.66 GAA and .939 SV%. Remember that time Dubnyk played for Nashville and started only two games, and gave up 4.35 GAA in those only two starts? Yeah, where was this guy when the Preds needed him last year. Nonetheless, he has found a comfort zone in Minnesota, and it is going to be hard to get him out of that zone.
The Wild have also been rejuvenated ever since they made a couple of key acquisitions. They acquired Sean Bergenheim and Chris Stewart (for pretty much nothing, I may add) to give them some depth going into the playoffs. Granted, they have yet to produce that much so far this season, but those moves were more so for May and June, not for February and March.
Regardless of the outcome of tonight's game, the Preds will have one more shot at Minnesota at the end of the season. The scarier thing to think about is that the last time these two teams met, Minnesota played the perfect trap game and frustrated the Predators. We'll see if the Wild can play that exact same game tonight.
The Nashville Predators
About that perfect trap game: the thing is it's not just the Wild that are doing it. It is everyone the Predators have been facing these past few weeks. The rest of the league is starting to catch on to what slows Nashville down. And frankly, the Predators have yet to find an answer for it.
Part of the reason seems to be the fatigue factor. In February, Nashville played fifteen games in 28 days. They also have fifteen games on slate for March as well. That isn't even mentioning that they played, or or going to play four back to backs. The bright side though is that they will get some significant rest after this game. They don't play again until Saturday, against the last place Sabres. Rest may just be what the doctor ordered for the Preds. If they had fresh legs in Sunday's game, they may have not given up a two goal lead in the third.
In the end though, it all comes down to execution for Nashville. The season will take its toll on any team, but the true contenders find a way to execute and keep winning. That is what the Preds need to find out and do.
Reasons To Watch
- We are back at home, which, for Nashville, hopefully means they get their home winning streak back on track.
- You finally get to watch a normal time game on the weekday for the first time in a week.
- At this point, every single game is important and crucial.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
Lagavulin. Because any drink that is good enough for Ron Swanson is a drink that is good enough for you.
Sights And Sounds
FS-TN for television, 102.5 The Game for radio. Puck drops at 7:00 pm CST.