Oct 23, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators center Olli Jokinen (13) skates with the puck against Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya (27) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators beat the Blackhawks 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The 2014-2015 NHL season is at most 10 games in with some teams only playing 6 games at this point. That is still enough time to reveal team strengths and weaknesses with plenty of time to course correct. One team that started off strong is the Nashville Predators. The Predators have already faced the Chicago Blackhawks two out of four times this season and took 3 out of 4 points with a win and an overtime loss.
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The Predators haven’t necessarily developed a secret weapon that has helped them offensively or defensively, but their few changes over the summer have helped – mainly, their trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins. the Preds traded with the Penguins for forward James Neal over the summer which is already paying off, especially against the Blackhawks. Neal is their top goal scorer with 5 goals in 8 games, three of which came in one game against the Blackhawks in Nashville and proved to be enough to win the game.
The Predators have a record of 5-1-2 with 12 points, winning against Central Division teams like the Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and Winnipeg Jets and beating the Western Conference Arizona Coyotes in a shootout. Nashville lost to the Calgary Flames in a shootout and were recently blanked 3-0 by Neal’s former team, the Penguins, in Nashville.
Six of their eight games have been played in Nashville with their road games resulting in a 2-1 overtime loss in Chicago and a 4-3 shootout win in Arizona. The Predators next 6 games will all be on the road starting with the Western Conference Canadian teams and ending with 3 Central Division games in Winnipeg, Dallas, and St. Louis.
Right now, the Predators lead the Central Division with 12 points and lead the Blackhawks by one. They’ll face the Blackhawks again on December 6 and for the last time this season on December 29.
Do you think the Predators will heat up or cool down on their 6 game road trip? Let us know in the comments!