The Predators are making their first stop of four on their winter tour of Western Canada. The Predators are coming off an embarrassing 3-0 shutout on home ice on a Saturday night. A shutout means all point and scoring streaks come to a screeching halt. The bigger implications of that loss means that Predators find themselves a few weeks from the trade deadline sitting outside of the playoffs with no particular trend. The team finds themselves where the need to make a statement (whether that of success or failure) becomes the primary issue of this trip. Come away with 6 points out of 8 and the playoffs seem like a reasonable bet and Poile gets on the phone to find some pieces. Or, get fewer points and Poile gets on the phone to get something in return for some expiring contracts.
This game, specifically, gives the Predators the opportunity to leap from sixth to fourth in the Central Division with a win. The Predators sit one point behind both Winnipeg and the Chicago Blackhawks.
If the Predators want to make a statement, they need to start tonight and they’re going to have to get past Connor Hellebuyck. Hellebuyck remains on pace for a solid run at the Vezina trophy this year. At the same time, Mark Scheifele, Kyle Connor, and Patrik Laine remain solid offensive threats.
Of course, it goes without saying that the Jets will be eager to get a win, as it will help solidify their fourth-place position in the standings, while keeping the Predators solidly in sixth.
Wild Card Implications
Both teams, however, sit outside of the last wild card spot. The Predators will see Calgary on this trip and taking a few points with them to that game will help make their case for a run at the playoffs. The Jets, too, need these points for the exact same reason. Expect some excitement.
Reasons to Watch
- Connor Hellebuyck will probably get the start and it’s really fun to come up with alternate versions of his name.
- There’s quite a bit riding on the outcome of this game, so each lead-change will possibly predict the near future of the Predators. As such, it may be one of the last time you get to see some of your favorite players in gold.
- Based on practice lines, Yakov Trenin may be playing on the fourth line. And, quite frankly, he’s an exciting player to watch. Trenin in and Watson out gets the line very close to my ideal. Maybe it isn’t your ideal, but you’re reading this...so, you know, maybe you trust my opinion.
- Dustin Byfuglien won’t be playing. Granted, he does tend to make games exciting, but he also represents a giant hurdle that no one needs to leap over. (Also, if the Predators make their case and become a win-now team, I’d like to see him on the ice for the Predators.)
Sounds to Enjoy
I got a copy of this on a cellophane record as an insert in an issue of Grand Royal Magazine (RIP) and now I recognize this version as the only true and correct version of this song.
Where to Watch
Pre-game coverage starts at 6:30 (central) on Fox Sports - Tennessee with game coverage continuing at 7:00 (central). You can also listen to the radio call on 102.5 The Game.