Monday, March 2, 2009

Predators Face Potential Letdown Tonight

The Nashville Predators return to action tonight against the Edmonton Oilers at 7 p.m. at the Sommet Center. The Preds are currently riding a season high four game win streak as they are fighting to stay in the Western Conference playoff race.

This will be the Predators first game since a record setting 8-0 victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night. The Preds will need to guard against a letdown after what was one of the bigger wins in franchise history. The Predators have had a history of a swoon after emotional wins over the rival Red Wings.

Earlier this year, after a 3-2 win over Detroit on December 26, the Predators went on to a season high five game losing streak. In 2006, when the Predators were on the way to their best season in franchise history, they were never quite the same after beating the Wings on back to back nights in Detroit. After the two wins, Nashville hit the low point of that season, losing three in a row and five of the next seven.

The Predators are well aware of their history of post Wing victory problems. Coach Barry Trotz addressed the issue after the Detroit game, “We are just going to try to keep it real. We can pat ourselves on the back but it’s only one game. We caught Detroit on a bad night and we just got to refocus and go against Edmonton”.

The victory on Saturday was probably more emotional for the fans than the players. The players seemed to realize that Detroit had an off night and seemed to be keeping the win in perspective.

Shea Weber explained, “It doesn’t matter. It’s one game. We got some fortunate bounces. It’s something we have to look past. We can enjoy it for the next 20 minutes or so, but we have to look forward to Tuesday.”

Captain Jason Arnott pointed out, “It’s definitely a confidence booster for everybody in here, but we can’t get too high over it. They were obviously tired from a game last night. We had some bounces go our way. We’ve got to keep pushing forward and take this confidence and move to the next game”.

Goalie Pekka Rinne added, “It’s not going to happen every day. It’s pretty surprising”.

A look at the standings should insure that the Predators pay full attention to this week’s games. The Preds are in ninth place, one point behind Edmonton and Anaheim who are tied for seventh and two points behind Columbus who the Preds play on Thursday.

The Predators will have to remain focused and avoid any letdowns in order to play at the level required to reach the playoffs. They have nineteen games remaining and will need to win at least 12 to 13 more games to be in the hunt when the season ends in April.

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass and The Columbia Daily Herald

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