Sunday, February 12, 2012

Critical week upcoming for Nashville

This past week was a rough one for the Nashville Predators. They lost twice in the shootout to Vancouver and Boston, and had a regulation loss against the Ottawa Senators last Thursday night. Since coming back from the All-Star break, the Predators have posted a 2-2-2 record. That record has obviously got to improve if the Predators hope to have any shot of winning the Central Division.

While there are only two games on the schedule for the Predators this week, Nashville has an opportunity to correct the slide that they are currently riding. Also, the Predators have an opportunity to further separate themselves from the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night and to gain ground on the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Nashville has to get back to what made them successful heading into the All-Star break. While their offense has been fairly productive all year, the Predators are not a team that will blow anyone away offensively. Nashville's formula for winning is to outwork the opposition and to capitalize on their mistakes.

In the last two games against Ottawa and Boston, the Predators have spent a lot of time in their own zone. They haven't been defensively reliable in front of Pekka Rinne, and they have really left their goaltender out to dry on certain occasions.

Every team goes through slumps like this in the regular season. However, this upcoming weeks presents a big opportunity for the Predators to bounce out of their lackluster play of late and make a run for their first Central Division title in franchise history.

As the page turns from last week to this upcoming week, the trade deadline is now only a little over two weeks away. It will be interesting to see what sort of moves are made by teams around the NHL over the next few weeks. Will Nashville General Manager David Poile be able to make a move to strengthen the Predators' roster heading into the playoff push, or will Nashville keep the team as it's currently constructed? Either way, there will be no shortage of things for hockey fans to talk about over the next few weeks.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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