If it feels like forever since the Nashville Predators played a home game, it should. The Preds finished a season-long, six-game road trip on Sunday and will return to Bridgestone Arena for a three-game homestand beginning Tuesday.
The road trip finished with a 3-1-2 record, getting eight out of a possible 12 points. It saw the return of Filip Forsberg to the lineup and a subsequent uptick in scoring (funny how that works, huh?) upon his return.
The four games this past week were truly a mixed bag of results—a regulation win, a regulation loss, an overtime win and an overtime loss.
Let’s run through them one more time:
The Fast Money Round
Monday: Predators 4, Toronto Maple Leafs 0
Forsberg’s reappearance certainly sparked one of the best performances of the season, not just from the guys on the ice but also from Lawrence Feloney and Andrew Meloche, who worked their usual magic to wipe out a Maple Leafs goal. Also, Pekka Rinne.
Wednesday: Predators 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3 (OT)
Filip. Forsberg. He probably just got slashed by Jonathan Toews again. Granted, Fil had to redeem himself for his mistake that helped result in the tying goal, but no matter. Also of note: the team that lost never had possession in overtime.
Thursday: Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Predators 3 (OT)
A bad sequence gave Columbus a two-goal lead, and a good sequence erased said advantage nearly as quickly. Mattias Ekholm continues to be beastly. Also of note: the team that lost never had possession in overtime.
Sunday: Carolina Hurricanes 6, Predators 3
This early start on a Sunday in Carolina has to stop. It seems to be scheduled every year, and the Predators seem to show up late for it every year. That goal by Forsberg was pure magic, but the rest of this game was pure malarkey. This might as well be treated as a separate road trip since the Preds came back to Nashville for a couple of days before going to Raleigh, and they played like it wasn’t the same road trip.
Player of the Week
Forsberg’s four-goal week deserves much recognition, but this one goes to the six-point outburst from Mattias Ekholm (two goals, four assists). He’s getting noticed for his offense, but his defense (save for the Artemi Panarin game-winner in Columbus) has been just as good.
Favorite Thing of the Week
Sure, he should be going to the All-Star Game, but even if he isn’t, Forsberg’s goal from Sunday is all-world.
Discussion of the Week
I’m not a fan of the “bye week,” especially when the All-Star break is in the same period. What happens is that after Nashville’s visit to Vegas on Jan. 23, the Predators won’t play another game the rest of the month—eight days between games.
For Rinne and Roman Josi, they’ll skate in the All-Star festivities, but they won’t suit up again for a game until the following Friday. Just not necessary to have that big of a gap. Take off Friday through the following Monday for the All-Star break and that’s enough.
Perhaps my thoughts will change if somebody isn’t 100 percent and could use the time off to fully heal, but from a pure scheduling standpoint, it’s just not needed. After the three home games this week, the Preds won’t be in Bridgestone Arena again until Feb. 2.
But, if we’re going to have it, why not have the “bye week” a little later—say, around the trade deadline? There’s a break around Christmas, then the All-Star break gets teams a few days off. How about one more right three- or four-day break right before the stretch run? Give traded players a practice or two with their new teams before they have another game and make the trade deadline a standalone event.
Discuss: Do you like the “bye week,” and if so, do you like where it is in the schedule, or should it be at a different point in the season?
This week’s grade
We saw just how more dangerous this team is with Forsberg in the lineup. When Kyle Turris returns, the Predators will be at their healthiest since very early in the season. Not an ideal end to the week, but getting eight out of 12 points on the season’s longest road trip is still pretty good. Still some things to clean up (we’ve harped on them enough already), but everyone does at this point (except maybe Tampa Bay). This week’s grade: B+
Who’s your Player of the Week for Week 14?
This poll is closed