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Predators’ Path to the 2023 Playoffs

Predators' Path to the 2023 Playoffs

The Nashville Predators control their fate. The red-hot team is 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, as the injection of youth following the trade deadline has made the playoffs possible. Over their next 18 games, they need to move past the struggling Winnipeg Jets. The Jets are 3-5-2 in their last 10 and are not looking like the same team from earlier in the season. The Calgary Flames also remain in the race; however, they are behind the Preds and playing mediocre.

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The Predators could have a more favorable schedule. Despite 11 home games and seven on the road, 13 of the remaining 18 games are against playoff teams. It will be challenging, but the Predators have the talent to squeak into a wild-card spot in an open Western Conference.

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Calculating a minimum points threshold is never easy, so let’s use last year’s final wild-card team in the Western Conference. That team was the Predators, with 97 points. They need to go 12-6-0 or earn 24 points over their next 18 games to meet this mark. Doable? Of course. Anything is possible in the NHL. Is it likely? Not really. Here’s a look at their 18 remaining games broken down into four categories, starting with games where they should expect a win or at least a point. 

Fans Should Expect A Predators’ Win

March 14: Detroit Red Wings (Home)

March 16: Chicago Blackhawks (Home)

April 1: St. Louis Blues (Home)

You can’t expect a win in the NHL. Even the last-place team can knock off a playoff-contending team in a single match, like the Predators losing to the Arizona Coyotes on March 9. Regardless, these teams were sellers at the deadline and are not making a last-ditch playoff run. The Pred’s next two games, against the Red Wings and Blackhawks, will essentially show whether they are serious; two regulation losses and they can kiss the playoffs goodbye. These two games are as easy as it gets, and they must capitalize on weak opponents while the Jets and Flames are struggling.

A Hope and a Prayer 

March 19: New York Rangers (Away)

March 28: Boston Bruins (Away)

April 3: Dallas Stars (Away) 

April 6: Carolina Hurricanes (Away)

You also can never expect a loss; however, these games are against the best in the NHL – three division leaders and a loaded Rangers team integrating Vladamir Tarasenko and Patrick Kane into their offense. Also, the Bruins are chasing NHL history for the most regular-season wins, and the Stars will never play a division foe…

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