People in Nashville are confused and unsure of what is going on with the Preds. Is it just because they are tired? Have they already peaked? Are they not having fun anymore? It could be a wide range of reasons why this slump is happening right now (none that we would even know), but it is only a matter of time before it gets fixed. Hopefully, it starts with tonight's game against the Jets.
The Winnipeg Jets
If Nashville was hoping for a break in the schedule, they aren't going to get it with the Jets. Winnipeg is fighting for the last wild card spot right now, and they have been playing exceptionally well this year. I am not going to lie, I thought the Jets were going to be the laughing stock of the league this year before the season started. They are definitely making me eat my words, because I don't think anyone could have predicted this season for them.
The Jets have been doing surprisingly well in the analytics department this year. They are sixth overall in score adjusted CF%, and allow the fifth least amount of shots per 60 minutes. Only teams like Tampa Bay, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota and Chicago are above them, which puts them in pretty good company.
This is also a new look Jets team from last year. They acquired Tyler Myers and Drew Stafford from the Sabres in a trade that sent Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian to Buffalo. Myers and Stafford have played well since joining Winnipeg. In nine games played so far, Myers has seven points, and Stafford has four points. They are starting to click with the rest of the team, which doesn't bode well for other opponents. It also helps Michael Hutchinson has been giving them quality goaltending, and Onrej Pavalec hasn't exactly been terrible this year.
Fortunately for Nashville, (and unfortunately for the Jets) they are going to be without Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little. Already without the services of Mathieu Perreault, the road to the Stanley Cup playoffs just got a little tougher. They made it through injuries before, but Nashville needs to take advantage of them being a few bodies short.
The Predators are still struggling, and as I mentioned earlier, it is anyone's guess as to why they are. My personal opinion is that they are giving up the first goal way to early in games. That forces them to play a game that they are not comfortable playing. The Preds like to dictate the pace of the game, and they can't do that when they are playing from behind all game.
The Preds did a heck of a lot better job on Thursday night with playing their game. They got the majority of the scoring chances, and outshot the Islanders by a good amount. Usually when a team scores three goals, and has Pekka Rinne in the net, you can chalk that one up in the win column. Not so much lately. The early goals have to be cut down if the Predators want to get back to their winning ways. They need to play aggressive from beginning to end, and we finally got a glimpse of that on Thursday night. Let's see if that momentum carries over to tonight.
Reasons To Watch
- Filip Forsberg and his quest to the #Cal9er.
- Colin Wilson and his quest to become a 30 goal scorer.
- Craig Smith and his quest to continue being a true American.
Drink Of Choice For Game Time
Since it has been a rough few games as of late, I figure you can't go wrong with Glenfiddich on the rocks, no matter what the outcome of the game is.
Sights And Sounds
We have a 6:00 pm CST puck drop tonight. It's on FS-TN and 102.5 The Game.