Preview #82: Predators have home ice in sight as regular season ends in Colorado
Nashville Predators 47-26-8
Colorado Avalanche 41-34-6
The Nashville Predators will try to secure home ice during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs when they face Colorado to end the regular season on Saturday night. Picking up a point in the game would be enough to guarantee Nashville the fourth spot in the Western Conference Standings.
The Predators will know who their opponent will be in the first round of the playoffs before the puck drops at 8 pm. Chicago and Detroit face off at Joe Louis Arena at noon on NBC. If Detroit loses in regulation to Chicago, the Blackhawks will tie the Red Wings in points but will move into fifth spot in the West due to the tie breaker. While both teams would end the season with 39 wins not including shootout victories, Chicago has a 3-0-2 record against Detroit this season which would move them ahead of the Red Wings.
If Detroit loses in overtime or a shootout, the best the Red Wings could do in the standings is tie the Predators, but Nashville owns the tie breaker, with more wins not including shootout victories therefore guaranteeing the Predators the fourth spot in the standings.
If, however, the Red Wings win in regulation, Nashville will be one point behind the Red Wings and will be forced to earn a point on Saturday night or else the Western Conference quarterfinals will start in Motor City next week. The Predators would end the regular season in the fifth spot in the Western Conference for the second straight season.
Colorado has 88 points on the season and has been eliminated from post season contention. The Avalanche have nothing to play for but pride, as well as a good end to their season in front of the home fans.
The Avalanche have struggled as of late posting a 1-3-1 record in their last five contests.
The Predators have a 6-4-0 record in their last 10 games, and have won their last two contests. In the team’s last two games, Nashville has allowed one goal against. Anders Lindback picked up the 2-1 win on Tuesday night against Minnesota while Pekka Rinne was back in goal on Thursday for the Predators 2-0 victory over Dallas.
It is unclear who will play in goal on Saturday night in Colorado, but if Detroit loses in the afternoon, it is not unreasonable to think Nashville starts Lindback.
Nashville will end the season with some impressive statistics on the team’s performance. While the Predators, Red Wings and Sharks are the only three teams in the League to post seven consecutive 40-win seasons, this season the Predators are poised to end the regular season with the number one ranked power play in the League with a 21.7 percent success rate.
Nashville ranks ninth in goals per game with a 2.79 average, and the Predators are 10th for goals against at 2.52. The only other teams in the League to rank in the top 10 in those two areas include Boston, Detroit and Vancouver. Furthermore, the Predators also rank in the top 10 for power play as well as penalty kill, along with Vancouver and Pittsburgh.
Tickets for the first round of the playoffs are on sale now and can be purchased at Ticketmaster or by going to the Bridgestone Arena box office.