The Nashville Predators have been a team of streaks so far this season, both good and bad. In order to compete for a spot in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Predators are going to have to really limit the bad parts of those streaks. That’s something they have not done a good job of so far this season.
Nashville has had six occasions where they have gotten at least two wins in a row so far this season, and two streaks of three wins in a row. The problem is that they have also had five occasions where they have lost at least two games in a row in either regulation or extra time, and three separate streaks where they have lost in some capacity at least three games in a row.
It seems like every time the Predators string together a series of wins, a series of losses comes right behind it to wipe out the progress that was made. For instance, the Predators recently went on a three-game winning streak with victories over New York, Dallas and San Jose. However, they have since followed that up with two regulation losses to Chicago and Tampa Bay and an overtime loss to Montreal. The Predators have to find away to stop going on those losing streaks.
“I wish we knew the answer for that,” said Predators forward Eric Nystrom. “We’ve just got to realize what makes us successful and stick to that. I think the last couple games we’ve kind of gotten away from that a little bit. We just haven’t been hard enough to play against like we were when we were winning.”
The biggest reason the Predators can’t afford to continue having these losing streaks is because very few other teams in the Western Conference are having them. As of Monday morning, the Predators are nine points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Phoenix Coyotes have a 19-10-6 record, which is good for 44 points through 35 games, and they would not be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
Nashville is battling a Western Conference that is perhaps as strong as it has ever been before. That makes maximizing the winning streaks and minimizing the losing streaks more important than ever before. If the Predators can’t find a way to be more consistent in the win column, they will not make the playoffs this season for the second year in a row.
“There’s a lot of teams playing really well,” Nystrom said. “Obviously, there’s still a lot of hockey to be played. Clearly, you have to be well above .500 if you want to give yourselves a chance. We’ve just got to find that consistent game and win. We’ve just got to win games. It’s tough to win in this league. Teams are really good, and we’ve just got to find that next level and start climbing.”