by Jackson Walsh
Well folks, this is it. With another victory, assuming the Jets just don’t lose to give us the Central Division title, this could be the game that does it adding another banner to the once bare record of hockey success hanging in the rafters at Bridgestone Arena. Tomorrow, the Predators will aim to get it done at BB&T Center against the Florida Panthers.
The Predators are coming off a convincing 4-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, in which Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith and Juuse Saros all shined. Rinne will be back between the pipes in yet another chance to try to prove his worth for the Vezina trophy.
Florida is on the outside looking in for the postseason. If they win out their last five games, they could hop the New Jersey Devils for the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s a very slim chance for the currently 40-30-8 Cats to pull it off. They need a lot of help, but they aren’t down and out just yet.
The Panthers hosted the Carolina Hurricanes, after winning 10 of their last 12 games on home ice. They went back to Roberto Luongo tonight, pulling out all the stops for a must-win situation. Bobby Lou was able to prevail over the Canes at home where the Panthers are 24-11-3 at home this season, in the top tier of the league in that category. So many numbers favor them at this point in the season, but the Predators are also 6-3-1 in their last 10. Not too shabby for a squad that some fans think is going through a slump, showing questionable play over the last couple of weeks.
The name of the game for Nashville is to finish strong. Already the 2017-18 season is a success, a playoff year, and one where they’ve seen the top of the NHL mountain. But they still have plenty to play for, against those who are fighting for their lives. The Preds will need to come out strong and avoid penalties in order to secure their first Division championship, and home ice throughout the first three rounds, on Tuesday night.
Photo Credit: Andrew Nelles/Tennessean.com