The Nashville Predators have a busy week with having to play three games in seven days. They’ll start the week with an afternoon game on the road and then have three consecutive games at home to close out the week.
1) Sunday, Jan. 13: Predators vs. Hurricanes- 12:30 p.m. ET
The Preds will visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday and they better be prepared to work because this Hurricanes team can win games. The Predators should look to set the pace early in the game and establish the forecheck and cycle game. The team has had some struggles on the road this season so they’ll want to make sure that they play a consistent 60 minutes of hockey. Nashville needs to be aware of where Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen are on the ice at all times since they are the leading scorers for the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes don’t have the best home penalty kill so the Predators have to take advantage of that and get the power play going.
The Hurricanes should look to get the first goal of the game and build momentum from there with a solid forecheck game. The goaltending is going to have to come up big for the ‘Canes as the Predators are going to get chances in this game because they are too good of a team to not get some really good chances. The Hurricanes will want to watch out for the Nashville defensemen since they like to contribute on the offensive side of the puck whether making a stretch pass, joining the rush or getting a shot off with traffic in front. Ryan Johansen had been the Predators leading scorer for most of the season and he has been reunited with Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson, who are healthy after suffering injuries.
2) Tuesday, Jan. 15: Capitals vs. Predators- 8 p.m. ET
On Tuesday night, the Predators take on the Washington Capitals at home. The goalies both have decent career numbers against the Capitals so if the team wanted to rest Pekka Rinne then the backup, Juuse Saros, could start this game. The Predators need to come up with a plan to slow down Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, which could be to establish time in the offensive zone early. The sloppy play and mental breakdowns are going to need to be avoided in this game for the Preds or it could get ugly because the Caps know how to take advantage of opposition’s mistakes.
This game is a revenge game for the Capitals since they lost to the Predators on New Year’s Eve. The goaltending will need to be stellar by making saves all game long and not allowing any soft goals. The Predators power play hasn’t exactly lit it up this season, but the Caps would still like to avoid the penalty box. The Capitals need to win the battle at even strength in this game, if they want to get two points.
3) Thursday, Jan. 17: Jets vs. Predators- 8 p.m. ET- ESPN+
The Preds have a huge divisional game on Thursday night as the Winnipeg Jets come to town. When these two teams get together, it tends to be played like a pond hockey game and wide open. Roman Josi has 20 points in 22 games played against the Jets in his career, while Ryan Johansen has 24 points in 20 career games against the Jets. The Predators need to avoid the penalty box whenever possible since the Jets have the third best power play in the League. The biggest key to the game is finding a way to keep the balanced attack of the Jets in-check and that won’t be an easy task.
The Jets want to get off to a fast start and set the pace early on the road. They’ll want to play a solid even strength game since the Predators lack a good power play this season. The Jets should clog the neutral zone and not let the Predators get a transition game going because when they establish one, the Preds can be a dangerous team. The Jets need to have a lead after the second period with the Predators only having three regulation wins when trailing after two periods.
4) Saturday, Jan. 19: Panthers vs. Predators- 8 p.m. ET
The Predators close out the week with a home game against the Florida Panthers. They should be sure to not give any time and space to defenseman Keith Yandle since he has 23 power play points on the season. The Preds should avoid the penalty box since the Panthers have the fourth best power play in the League. The Panthers have been struggling of late, but the Preds want to make sure that they don’t play down to their opponent or overlook them. When Jonathan Huberdeau and Mike Hoffman are on the ice, you need to be aware of where they are and make sure a man has them covered.
The Panthers want to use their speed early in this game so they can get chances and possibly draw some penalties. The goaltending will need to be good in this one since the Preds can put the puck in the back of the net. The Panthers should try to make smart decisions with the puck and avoid turning it over especially in the neutral zone since the Predators are a good transition team. In order to stop that transition game of the Predators, the Panthers need to do a good job clogging up the neutral zone to slow down the Preds attack.
Preds Prey Weekly Prediction
The Predators will have a good week and go 2-1-1 getting points in three of the four games they play. They will manage to get regulation wins over the Hurricanes and Panthers. The regulation loss is going to come against the Capitals, but it will be a close game. The Predators will suffer an overtime loss to the Jets at home, which should be an entertaining, high scoring game.