Preds Riding the Road to Success

Friday, 01.21.2011 / 7:32 PM / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
With the rare two-day break between games on the road trip, it gives a chance to reflect back on the start of the trip and the team’s run over the last three weeks.

After the Break
NASHVILLE'S POST-ALL-STAR WEEKEND GAMES

Games: 32 (21 Home, 11 Road)
By Division/Conference: vs. the Northwest: 12, vs. the Central: 9, vs. the Pacific: 7, vs. the East: 4
By Time Zone: Central: 23, Eastern: 4, Mountain: 3, Pacific: 2
Back-to-backs: 3 (Feb. 26-27, 1 p.m. CT @ DAL & 2 p.m. CT vs. CBJ; March 19-20, 7 p.m. CT vs. DET & 5 p.m. ET @ BUF; April 8-9, 7 p.m. CT vs. CBJ & 7 p.m. CT @ STL)
Road Trips: 8 (7 one-game trips, 1 four-game trip; 18 hotel nights)


--Kevin Wilson, NashvillePredators.com
The Preds opened this trip in fifth place in the Western Conference with 54 points. Midway through the excursion, Nashville has slid up one slot to the number four seed with 58 points. After dropping the first game of the trip in Chicago, the Predators have picked up wins in Phoenix and Colorado. Those wins are the reason Nashville sits above those teams in the standings – holding a one point edge over the Coyotes (Phoenix has played one more game than Nashville) and a four point lead on the Avalanche (with a Colorado regulation win last night the teams would have been tied).

Looking further back, Nashville has posted a 9-2-0 record over the last three weeks, playing eight of the 11 games on the road. And the Preds have been convincing in their wins; seven of the nine victories have been by three goals or more. But as impressive as the record and goal differential (+21 over the 11 games) has been, the run has produced even greater benefits.

Starting with the New Year’s Eve win at Minnesota, the Preds knocked off the Wild twice over the last three week. Minnesota currently sits in ninth place in the Conference, five points behind Nashville – those two wins (four points) represent the difference between the teams. The four points also secured the Preds at least a split of the season series between the teams with one more meeting upcoming in Nashville (on March 10 – buy tickets now); should the Western Conference remain this tight throughout the season (and there’s been no indication it won’t), tie breakers may end up determining seeding for several teams.

After closing 2010 with the win in Minnesota, Nashville returned home to open 2011 with a 4-1 win over Columbus. At the time the win allowed the Preds to leapfrog the Jackets (opening the game one point behind them and finishing one point ahead) and since have expanded the lead out to nine points.

Similarly, the team’s California road trip proved pivotal. The win at Anaheim remains the differential between the teams in the standings with Ducks sitting just two points behind the Preds (Anaheim has played three additional games, but points earned are points earned) and also secured at least a split of the season series with just one series meeting left in the regular season (March 24 in Nashville – buy tickets now).

The next night the Predators knocked off the Kings, preventing LA from passing them in the standings (Nashville entered the game just one point ahead, pushed to three points with the win and currently out to nine points). The Predators wrapped up the Cali-Sweep with a 2-1 win in San Jose, also preventing the Sharks from passing them in the standings – again entering the game up one point and exiting with a three point lead.

With three more games before the All-Star Break, Nashville has an opportunity to further entrench its place at the top of the Conference playoff picture and set itself up for a special end of season run. The Preds – traditionally one of the best home teams in the NHL – host 21 of their final 31 games at Bridgestone Arena, so the groundwork being laid this week put the Preds in a strong position to cement a playoff berth this spring.
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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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