The Nashville Predators have cemented their position as a playoff team, a long time ago. With a record of 50-16-4, the Predators would just like to go into the playoffs playing focused hockey. Not much has derailed their rhythm this season, as they’ve played like a bona fide contender to get back to the Stanley Cup Final. The Preds came a couple of games short against the Penguins, as they took a 4-2 series loss in the finals. They’ve looked determined to get right back to where they were and win those final two games.
If we’re looking at this by way of regular season success, the Predators must be the team to beat in the playoffs. However, this isn’t the NBA where someone who doesn’t know much can accurately predict the finals. The NHL on the other hand can be a wide-open race from the bottom to the top seeds having a chance. There are some lower seeds that could get in that may be good for an upset or two in the playoffs.
The Predators do not look like a team who are ripe for an upset, but who knows what can happen over the course of a seven-game series. It would certainly take some steel balls to opt to fade them in the first-round, though. The Predators currently control home ice throughout every round. They are 6 points up on 2nd place Vegas in the Western Conference, and 3 points up on the Lightning over in the Eastern Conference. So, yes, in a way there is still something to play for in Nashville. If they were to meet the Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, they’d hold home ice advantage. The Preds are coming off a 5-3 win over the Sharks on Thursday night. Meanwhile, the Sabres just took a 6-3 loss against the Red Wings, their fifth loss in the last six games. Get our free Sabres vs. Predators pick below.
Buffalo Sabres vs. Nashville Predators Pick
There have been several teams who have been surprising newcomers to the top of the league this season. The Predators are no surprise at all. A couple of teams they’re fending off in the conference, the Knights and Jets, definitely are surprises. When we take a look at the Sabres, it feels like almost every year since Eichel has been in Buffalo, the consensus is that the Sabres are ready for a breakout. No, not at all. With a mark of 24-41-10, it’s been nothing but another disappointing year in Buffalo. It isn’t like they’ve been trying to save face lately either. They’ve scored just 1.9 goals per game, while allowing 3.6 per game. In four of their last six games, they scored 1 or no goals.
The Predators have let up on the gas pedal just a tad, winning six of their last ten games. However, they’ve snapped out of a brief daze with back-to-back wins over the Wild and Sharks. In a year where goal scoring has been up significantly, having a capable netminder and defence will go far in the playoffs. The Preds are 2nd in the NHL with 2.45 goals allowed per game, just 0.1 behind the Kings. And unlike the Kings, Nashville have a top-10 offence to assist them. I just can’t fathom them taking Saturday off and letting the Sabres have a chance here. It isn’t the fanciest pick in the world, but the Predators should cruise tonight at home in Nashville.