Are the Nashville Predators king slayers? Their record against top teams in the NHL suggests they might be.
All season long, Preds fans have been waiting for their team to show consistency on the ice, especially at home. Given all the moves David Poile has made over the last couple seasons, it’s no doubt been infuriating for fans to watch the Preds struggle to even maintain a playoff position for much of the year.
But if you look at who the Preds have actually beaten, maybe they’ve been a consistent team this whole time?
Let’s start with a tweet I sent out after the Preds swept the Blues last weekend. I had a feeling the Preds had a decent record against top talent and I was right.
Adding to last night’s realization about this #Preds team:
8-0 against STL, WAS, NYI
3-5 against OTT, LAK, DET, ANA
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) February 17, 2020
Going undefeated in eight games against those three Cup-contending teams? That’s impressive, even for the regular season.
But let’s look even further. Here’s the Nashville Predators’ record against eight teams that are likely to make the playoffs.
- Boston: 1-1-0
- Carolina: 1-0-0
- Calgary: 1-0-1
- New York Islanders: 2-0-0
- St. Louis: 4-0-0
- Tampa Bay: 1-0-1
- Winnipeg: 2-1-0
- Washington: 2-0-0
That’s a combined record of 14-2-2 against really good NHL teams, all of which are more than likely headed for the playoffs. The least impressive of those teams is Winnipeg, who the Preds might have to fight off for a playoff spot down the stretch.
Of course, it’s important to point out that the Preds have been terrible against two other very good NHL teams in their own division: Dallas and Colorado. The Preds are 0-3 against the Stars and Avalanche, having been outscored 17-7 in three games. And unfortunately the Preds, if they make the playoffs, will likely face either Dallas or Colorado in the first or second round.
But the point remains that a 14-5-2 record against those 10 NHL teams is certainly encouraging. The Preds have shown they have the skill and ability to “play up to their opponent” when it matters and can win big games when they need to. The most impressive record is going 4-0-0 against the defending champion St. Louis Blues, who are only missing Vladimir Tarasenko from their 2019 championship team.
The problem with this Preds team, and where fans have a legitimate gripe, is when you look at the rest of the schedule, specifically the bottom feeding teams. Here’s the Preds’ record against teams who are not playoff teams, most of which are competing for a lottery pick in the NHL draft.
- Anaheim: 1-1-1
- Arizona: 1-1-0
- Buffalo: 1-1-0
- Chicago: 2-1-0
- Detroit: 1-1-0
- Florida: 0-1-1
- Los Angeles: 0-2-0
- New York Rangers: 1-1-0
- Ottawa: 0-0-1
A record of 6-9-3 against teams that have little to no playoff hopes is shocking, to say the least. And while Arizona and Florida could be playoff teams when it’s all said and done, they aren’t likely to be Cup contenders and are still a couple years away from being legitimate threats.
The good news for the Nashville Predators is that they won’t have to face bad teams in the NHL playoffs. Given their record against good teams, maybe they have a shot at a deep run this year?
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —