With the LA Kings’ loss to the Coyotes during the wee CST hours on Monday, the Preds clinched the final Wild Card spot in the West. With the Chicago Blackhawks as their looming first-round opponent, Nashville still has their work cut out for them.
But first, they still have some regular season business to attend to. It’s been a long road to get to this point, but the Predators are playing their final regular season home game against the New York Islanders tonight. The Preds will be looking for a win to get fans excited for the post season while the New York Islanders are just livin’ on a prayer.
The Isles had a fighting chance last week to stay in playoff contention but have fallen too far behind to surpass the Tampa Bay Lightening and the Boston Bruins for the final Wild Card spot in the East. Don’t expect the Isles to go quietly though.
New York Islanders
The last time these two teams met the Islanders fell short losing to Nashville 3-1 at the Barclay’s Center. While they may not have a shot at the playoffs anymore, it’s still safe to assume this is a team playing some desperate hockey.
With wins against Buffalo and New Jersey, netting a combined six goals, the Islanders are finding some late, way late, scoring power. Anders Lee being responsible for half of those goals. Lee now leads the team in goals with 31, surpassing John Tavares at 28. Tavares suffered a lower-body injury and will miss the remainder of the regular season, but Lee has filled that void nicely.
The Islanders may not have met the expectations that were laid out for them following last year, but they had a good run. While it’s only been a week since their last meeting against the Predators, that’s still enough time to patch up any holes in any team’s game. Don’t expect them to lie down and let Nashville skate circles around them. This is a team that will be hoping to roll into the off-season with their dignity.
After coming off a weekend back to back against the Minnesota Wild and St. Louis Blues, the Predators were still the odd team out for the playoffs. Luckily the Los Angeles Kings were gracious enough to lose to the Coyotes and the Preds are finally in it for the third consecutive year.
It’s been a long streaky road for Nashville and while they might not need to win the remainder of their games, winning would carry a different energy into the playoffs. The Blackhawks will not be an easy opponent and Nashville would be smart to finish polishing and in some cases, cleaning up their game before the series starts.
While it’s unclear if James Neal or Yannick Weber will return from from injury tonight, it’s not a bad thing for Peter Laviolette to continue tinkering with lines,
specifically the bottom six
Reasons to Watch
- Kevin Fiala - Admittedly, I wasn’t sure this season would be the season for Fiala at the beginning, but the kid has found some spark and confidence. He’s made me a believer.
- Viktor Arvidsson - Nuff Said.
- Calle Jarnkrok - Calle’s worked really well with Fiala the last few games, let’s see if they can keep the spark alive.
Sights and Sounds
The puck drops at 7:00 p.m. CST at the Bridge. The Predators will be televised on FS-TN or you can catch them on the radio at 102.5 The Game.