After a dominating win of 4-1 over the Rangers in New York last Tuesday, the Predators have relocated their proverbial “groove” through the last three games, defeating the likes of new divisional rival, the Dallas Stars 3-1. Before regaining the taste of victory, the Predators had fallen five times in a row, spawning some much needed criticizism from the peanut gallery.
With the win over San Jose (20-6-6) last night, Nashville’s standings are now at 16-14-3, placing the Predators 11th out of 14th in the Western Conference and 6th in the Central Division, just two points ahead of Winnipeg (who is at rockbottom).
Okay, that’s a bit disheartening, isn’t it? Well, how about this: Where would Nashville stand in other divisions and the Eastern Conference? Let’s find out:
- If Nashville was in the Metropolitan Division, which consists of Pittsburgh, Washington, Carolina, New Jersey, Columbus, Islanders, Rangers & Philadelphia), the Predators would hold 3rd place over the Carolina Hurricanes. Wishing the Predators were in the Eastern Conference now, huh?
- If Nashville was in the Atlantic Division, they would be sitting in 6th out of 8th place, just surpassing the Ottawa Senators by three points. Not nearly as good as the Metropolitan Division, but with two teams sitting behind you instead of one, it subconsciously makes things better, right?
- So, overall, where would Nashville stand as of Sunday, December 15th in the Eastern Conference? Carolina would be pushed aside once again and the Predators would snag 8th out of the 16 teams. Significantly better than sitting in 11th of the 14 teams in the West, right?
Well, wishing is wishing and, unfortunately, the Predators cannot hop into the Eastern Conference just because their standings would be better there. Also, a good question is, does that mean the Eastern Conference is weaker than the Western? Eh, not necessarily. Although it is clear by the numbers that Chicago (who leads the Western Conference with 51 points) would overpower the Pittsburgh Penguins (leader of the Eastern Conference with 47 points), hockey is not defined by numbers alone. That is one of the bittersweet joys of the sport of hockey; nothing is written in stone until the final sound of the buzzer. So, even though Nashville’s record would technically be better in the Eastern Conference, things could flip upside down in the matter of the 60 minutes it takes to complete an NHL game.
But, let’s stop looking at the what-ifs and take a look at the right-nows:
- The Predators are now 9th in the league when it comes to power plays at 20.0%.
- Carter Hutton is now 3-0-0 in the month of December, despite having a relatively awful November.
- Carter Hutton has only allowed four goals thus far in the month of December.
- Nashville is 13-1-2 when they score the first goal.
Stats from us, what?! Yea, we usually leave those details to the guys with credentials, but sometimes, we like to surprise the masses. But we needed to remind the masses at large that, although Nashville is sitting at the bottom of the Central Division and the Western Conference, not all the stats are bad. So keep that in mind the next time the Predators hit a snag and take a loss. It may not be all rainbows and sunshines, but it sure isn’t grey skies all the time.
Oh, and Kevin Klein got in a fight last night; so did Rich Clune, but we are more impressed by Klein.