In the words of The Simpsons, “stop, stop! he’s [they’re] already dead.”
We’ve read your comments across social media and here on On The Forecheck. We get it, you’re frustrated. No one likes losing and the team is undoubtedly frustrated as well. However, it’s Monday and the beginning of a brand new week. Hopefully, that means a brand new start for your Nashville Predators.
The Predators begin the week in the Big Apple at Madison Square Garden taking on the New York Rangers. One of those teams is in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. The other, not so much. You can guess who’s who here.
The Preds lost 4-1 at home Saturday night to their upcoming Winter Classic foes the Dallas Stars.
As the Stars racked up goals, it appeared as though the Preds had given up. Andrew Cogliano’s goal — the goal that made it 4-1 toward the end of the second period — was especially bad. All it took was a shove from Cogliano to get Ryan Ellis off the puck, turn around, skate it back and score. Not ideal for the type of fight you’re looking for as the year winds down.
Nashville is still without Viktor Arvidsson — thanks to a barely punished (thanks, NHL DoPS), dirty hit by the St. Louis Blues’ Robert Bortuzzo. Arvi’s absence is obviously felt, but at this point, the Preds are not just one player away from being able to right this wayward ship.
The Predators are coming into MSG with a 14-12-5 record — four spots and six points out of a Wild Card spot.
The team began the month by dropping a game against Tampa Bay, winning back-to-back games against the New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks, respectively. They then went on to lose back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres and the Dallas Stars. If this is the pattern we are to expect, hopefully this means the Empire State will bring back-to-back wins once again.
New York Rangers
If you’re superstitious — or just ‘a little stitious’, like Michael Scott — the Rangers’ current record might turn you into a betting man or woman. As I said above, if the Preds are following a pattern, they’re due for two wins, but the Rangers currently have an odd pattern of their own.
Since their first game of the month, they’ve alternated wins and losses every other game. If their current pattern holds up, the Rangers would theoretically be due for a win Monday.
As fun as superstitions are, though, let’s take a look at the numbers.
The Rangers hold a 16-12-4 record. With 36 points, they not only have three points more than the Preds, but are also just one spot and three points out of a Wild Card spot.
NYR is coming into Monday’s game fresh off a shoot-out loss in Anaheim Saturday.
What to watch for
The Rangers’ leader in points (42) and goals (19) Artemi “Bread Man” Panarin is on an at least one-point-per-game streak in his last four games.
What’s going to change for the Preds following the Dallas game? Something has to, but what?
Who gets the start in net for the Preds? — it hasn’t been a good year for Pekka Rinne.
Reasons to watch
Things aren’t good, but every Christmas movie I’ve ever watched has told me to believe in miracles this time of year, so why not.
Through thick and thin, Preds fans.
As Alicia Keys sings, “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothin’ you can’t do.” — From your lips to the hockey gods’ ears.
What to drink
Anything you can get your hands on that will get you through the game at this point.
If you’re looking for a pun, try a Manhattan.
Where to watch/listen
It’s an early one — 6 p.m. CST on FOX Sports Tennessee, or on ESPN+. You can also listen live on 102.5 The Game.
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