Hockey is a lot to keep up with and if you’re a busy Middle Tennessean but are still a fan of the hometown Predators, we have your weekly Nashville Predators update with everything you need to know right here.
January 9th, 3-0 win @ Ottawa Senators
January 11th, 2-1 loss @ Toronto Maple Leafs
January 12th, 4-3 loss @ Montreal Canadiens
January 14th, 5-3 loss vs Buffalo Sabres
Disappointing. That was the theme for this four-game stretch finishing up the road trip and returning to Nashville. While Nashville was able to pick up a win over The Senators, the rest of the week, unfortunately, overshadowed those two points. The three losses from Wednesday to Saturday all had a feeling of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Predators seem to be returning down to earth after a 5-0-1 stretch that saw the boys in gold score 27 goals.
The first game of the week ended up also being the only win. Saros, coming off his record setting performance from his last start, shut out Ottawa with 38 saves. Josi and Forsberg were able to find the back of the net and The Predators looked to be in great position to at least get four or even five wins on the road trip
This was the game where it fell off the rails. Toronto got on the board first, but Forsberg responded to make it eight goals in eight games for Fil. The teams went back and forth as Saros and Murray kept their teams at one all until 4:22 was left in the game, and Mark Jankowski took his second penalty on the night, but this one was a double minor meaning that The Leafs would have a man advantage for essentially the rest of the game. This ended up being a death sentence and a regulation loss for a Preds team that had played a hard-fought game all night as Toronto scored on the power play.
This was the last game of the road trip with a chance to make the trip record 4-1 against a Montreal team Nashville had just beat recently 6-3. Coach Hynes chose to rest Saros on the second of back-to-back games, but with usual backup, Kevin Lankinen, on the injury report Nashville had to call up 2020 first round pick, Yaroslav Askarov, to make his NHL debut. He was going to have to do so in one of the most intimidating arenas in the league, on “PK Subban Night” no less. The young gun showed promise having not been with the team for more than a day. His aggressiveness, confidence, and athleticism were on full display and not dampened by the loud Canadian crowd. Unfortunately, The Preds didn’t do him any favors as he faced flurries of shots with a grand total of 35 shots faced. 3-2 ended up being the road trip record as Nashville fell 4-3.
This one will sting over the weekend for players and fans. After falling behind 3-1 early in the second period all the energy had been sucked out of Bridgestone arena, until Lauzon and Johansen were able to both score within 40 seconds and tie the game as the crowd erupted. Saros became unbeatable, making save after save to keep Nashville in the game until sloppy play, fatigue from the road, or a combination of both allowed Buffalo to score a shorthanded goal instead of Nashville scoring on the power play to take control. This one, once again, will feel like it got away in disappointing fashion.
Nashville now sits at 19-17-6 with 44 points. They are sitting at 21st in the NHL, 11th in the Western Conference, and 6th in the Central Division.
January 16th, at 7:00, vs Calgary Flames (NHLPP|ESPN+|Bally)
January 17th, at 7:00 vs Columbus Blue Jackets (NHLPP|ESPN+|Bally)
January 19th, at 7:00 @ St. Louis Blues (NHLPP|ESPN+|Bally)
January 21st, at 7:00 vs LA Kings (NHLPP|ESPN+|Bally)
A welcome home stand in the last week before the All-Star break will do The Preds some good physically and mentally. In the middle of the home stand the most important game comes on the road against a Blues team that is neck-and-neck with Nashville in the playoff standings. Now that The Preds are home, we can get an accurate feel for whether that 5-0-1 stretch was a fluke, this team’s ceiling, or if this team is better than the streaks they’ve been going on. After having their win streak snapped in disappointing fashion and starting what is now a three-game losing streak, the response Nashville gives this week will tell us a lot going into the break.