One look at the Western Conference Wild Card standings tell you all you need to know about how massive tonight's game in Calgary is for the Predators. They sit just three points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand and have a chance to gain two points on the team currently sitting in the second Wild Card spot.
Nashville has won three of its last four — all on the road against Washington, New Jersey and Winnipeg — and will need a bit more of the magic it seems to have captured away from Bridgestone Arena as its next three are on the road in Western Canada, too.
"Infuriating" would be the best word I could use to describe this season's version of Nashville Predators hockey, as they're clearly talented enough to not only make the playoffs, but possibly make a deep run, and yet consistently fall on their face when it gets down to nut-cutting time. They refuse to grab the reigns and be good and they also refuse to ever die. Watching Preds games is to be an eternal state of purgatory.
However, there has been at least a bit of a spark since the coaching change — and never has this team needed more of a spark than on this road trip. Nashville has consistently had a few games in hand over the teams ahead of it in the standings, but at some point, they have to start winning them. Additionally, with the trade deadline looming, tonight could be a pivotal moment in David Poile's decision-making as to what to do when it comes.
In an 82-game season, it's hard to ever say any one game — particularly with 30 remaining — is make-or-break, but it sure feels like a four-point swing tonight in whichever direction it goes will be massive for the Preds' playoff hopes and roster going forward.
So let's win this damn thing.