The Nashville Predators are in the midst of something they haven’t had to endure much of this season: a losing streak. The Preds have been so dominant that losing streaks have been few and far between for them. They haven’t had to face much adversity, so maybe it is a hidden benefit for them that they are going through it now instead of in the playoffs. Facing adversity does add some character to teams. Hopefully for the Predators they turn it around soon and put this four game losing streak in the past. The Islanders have had to face some adversity of their own lately. Okposo is out for several weeks with an injury to his eye, while Tyler Kennedy recently came down with an upper-body injury which deems him questionable to return tonight against the Predators .
I see similarities in the Islanders and Predators in the sense that I don’t think many people are giving them a shot at succeeding come playoff time. This is despite having excellent records, among the best in the NHL in fact. The Isles enter tonight with a record of 41-21-1-2 while the Predators are holding strong with a record of 41-17-2-5, which positions them as tops in the standings in the NHL. Seldom does a team have a record of 41-17-2-5, 1st in the league, and they still aren’t being talked among other Stanley Cup favorites. Same could be said for the Islanders. I think there is still a stigma of the Preds and Islanders being bad teams, but it is quite the contrary. Will their success in the regular season translate to wins in the playoff? That is yet to be seen. There have been many teams in the past that haven’t done much with their wins from the regular season. Look at the LA Kings, a team that wasn’t near the top of the standings when they won their recent Cups. So, the argument that the Islanders and Predators may have some problems in a month is with some merit. Let’s take a look at what both of these teams have to offer to us tonight.
N.Y. Islanders @ Nashville Predators
Much of the Predators success has found them at home this season. The are, however, on a two game losing streak at home. I know that doesn’t seem like anything, but for a team that was 26-3 at home before those two losses, it is something worth noting. Mind you, the Predators are still a league best 26-5 at home, so even with those two losses we cant knock them in any capacity. The best teams bounce back from hard losses and treat losses like those as outliers. Problem is many people don’t see the Predators as one of the best teams. Their record indicates otherwise, though. And in my opinion, the Preds are a great team. They have had the offense to catapult them to a great level in 2014-2015. The defense has always been there, and the offense has come along to join the offense finally. They have a top 5 offense that scores 2.88 goals per game. Furthermore, their defense is once again in the top 5, where they are allowing just 2.35 goals a game. So even with a four game losing streak they still statistically are at the top.
The Islanders have had some offense of their own this season. It is to be expected that the offense is the pillar on a team with plenty of talent that has a young core. They are in the top 5 offensively as well, with an average of 3.08 goals a game. Their defense, allowing 2.77 goals, has been the only thing holding them back from being 1st in the NHL. That is quite the turnaround for the Islanders from the past couple seasons. The same can be said for the Predators. Tonight I think the Predators get back in the win column and snap their four game skid and two game losing streak at home. The Islanders have injuries heading into tonight and it has shown lately, as they are 5-5 their last ten games. Even though the Preds have had a difficult stretch, it is hard to believe that it will continue in their own arena. The best home team in the NHL gets it done tonight.
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