So what do we have to do in order to catch a break here? In Smashville the injury bug has bit, bit hard, and bit repeatedly.
Yesterday, Preds PR announced that Filip Forsberg has been added to IR, Eeli Tolvanen and Dante Fabbro are considered week-to-week and Mathieu Olivier is out 4-6 weeks. Add those names to a list that includes Ryan Ellis, Brad Richardson, Alexandre Carrier, Luca Sbisa, Mark Borowiecki and Matt Duchene.
OK, who broke a mirror on the last Friday the 13th? Any chance we can order up a couple of thousand rabbit's feet?
You would think that with all of the injuries this team has seen they would be battling for the top spot in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. But they are not, they are in the thick of a playoff race. The Preds were written off, left for dead when March began. They have come roaring back and control their playoff destiny, despite losing quite a few of their top players for extended periods.
This team just keeps on bouncing back... and now it is time to do it again.
The Predators begin a critical three game stretch tonight where they will take on Tampa twice and Dallas once over the next four days. Willy Daunic has dubbed it "The Stanley Cup Sandwich." An apt description...
The knock on Nashville's recent hot streak has been that they have done it against "bottom feeders." I am not sure that is a fair description as this 10 wins in 12 games streak has seen wins over Tampa and Florida, two wins over Dallas and a two-game sweep in Chicago.
Sweep in Chicago... I love that phrase :-) but I digress.
This three game set is not only critical for playoff positioning, but the first two games could be considered a bit of a measuring stick for this team's progress heading into Monday's trade deadline.
It's next man up time again for Nashville.
Tampa comes into tonight's game losing 5 of their last 8 games, but they did snap a 2 game losing streak on Thursday night in Columbus. The Lightning hit a mid-season lull that happens to a lot of good teams, especially a defending champion. Over this stretch the Bolts have struggled to score, especially on the power play. They hung six on Columbus Thursday night, so that may be done.
Tampa's injury situation is better than their opponent's... they are missing Jan Rutta and Nikita Kucherov. Steven Stamkos is questionable for tonight after leaving Thursday's game early in the third period. Stamkos has lit the Predators up this year.
When the puck drops tonight we may get an indication if this resurgent Predators team is the real deal. Should be a good one at Bridgestone. Very limited tickets remain, coverage on 102.5 the Game with the Voice of the Predators, Pete Weber and Hal Gill gets going with pregame at 6pm, puck drop at 7. There is TV coverage on Bally Sports South with Willy Daunic and Chris Mason. For cord cutters, well... I'm not sure what to tell you as the channel is not available on Hulu, Sling or YouTube TV.
Random Notes – Presented by
- Where We Stand
- A daily playoff update. As play opens today the Predators are in the 4th spot in the Central, 4 points ahead of Chicago. Nashville leads Dallas and Columbus by 7 points, the Stars still have 3 games in hand on Nashville, the Preds have a game in hand on the Blue Jackets. The Preds trail Florida and Tampa by 11 points and Carolina by 12 for higher playoff positioning. The Predators playoff chances are up to 68%.
- Man Games Lost
- The Predators injury issues are getting downright silly. They have lost 199 game to injury spread over 20 players ... that is a season's worth of injuries in 41 games! Extrapolating that out over a regular 82 game season gets a number just shy of 400 man games lost... insane.
- The Plight of the Cord Cutter
- I have to say, I am getting sick of not being able to watch away games. C'mon Sinclair... make a damn deal... you are hurting your product and blown the launch of your new name... quit making it worse.
- Junior Preds
- The Junior Preds 18U AAA boys team is undefeated in 23 games so far this season and has won the Southeastern District championship for the second consecutive season. Congrats to head coach Steve Jennings and
the boys as they head to St. Louis for the USA Hockey National Championship Tournament. Good luck boys!!
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