Middle of the pack

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

The Nashville Predators are truly a team in the middle.

The Preds presently sit fifth in the Western Conference, behind four playoff teams and ahead of three. Nashville is usually viewed as New Jersey west, a team that has to win low-scoring games to survive. While it’s true defense and goaltending tend to be their strong points, the Predators are actually 15th league-wide in both goals for (2.68 per game) and goals against (2.71).

Jason Arnott is battling head issues that could be concussion-related and Nashville’s attack would definitely benefit with him back in the lineup.

The numbers may suggest the Preds place as much emphasis on scoring as goal prevention, but if they’re to do any playoff damage, it will be due to the strength Nashville has from the blueline back. Pekka Rinne has had some hot stretches in the crease and Shea Weber is one heck of an anchor for any defense corps.

And while the Preds have yet to win a post-season series in four playoff ventures, their style of game seems well suited to squeaking out the close games that mark hockey in the spring.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

2

49-15-11

5-2-3

Three of the best four plus-minus ratings in the league belong to Caps and the top nine belong to guys from Washington or Vancouver.

2

9

47-19-10

4-5-1

Fortunes turn around quick with four straight wins, though Joe Thornton is day-to-day with a lower-body injury after playing 398 consecutive contests

3

1

47-23-6

8-1-1

Phoenix has posted the first 100-point season in Coyotes/Winnipeg Jets history

4

6

39-23-13

8-1-1

Does Jimmy Howard have the inside track on the Calder Trophy?

5

3

45-26-4

5-3-2

In a poll conducted by ESPN Magazine, NHLers anonymously voted Roberto Luongo the league's most overrated player

6

5

44-25-7

4-3-3

Can't seem to decide how bad they want to win the Atlantic Division

7

7

46-21-7

3-5-2

Have just two wins in their past eight outings and need to get some positive momentum heading toward the playoffs

8

4

43-27-6

7-2-1

Can their tight style translate to the first playoff series victory in franchise history?

9

8

41-23-10

6-3-1

Would have been awesome to see Tim Connolly play the entire 82-game schedule, but he's out with a lower-body injury right now

10

10

44-26-5

5-3-2

See Penguins

11

19

41-30-5

5-5-0

Brian Elliott is hot again as Sens have won four straight

12

11

42-26-6

4-4-2

Recent slide means they're only five points up on ninth-place Calgary, so they can't completely fall asleep at the wheel

13

16

34-28-12

5-4-1

Hard to blame Marc Savard for having no interest in talking to Matt Cooke

14

13

37-31-8

6-2-2

Glen Metropolit, who leads the team with 10 power play goals, could be gone for the season with a separated shoulder

15

18

33-30-12

5-3-2

Given the way buried teams like playing the spoiler role, maybe it's a good thing still-in-the-hunt Atlanta has five games left against the Devils, Caps and Pens. Or maybe not…

16

15

38-32-6

3-5-2

According to sources from within the organization the Flyers will actually go after a true No. 1 goalie this summer

17

12

41-27-7

4-5-1

Craig Anderson has surrendered at least three goals in his last seven outings as Colorado slips down the standings

18

14

38-29-9

5-5-0

Jim Playfair, coach of the Flames' Abbotsford AHL affiliate, demonstrates the proper way to have a complete nuclear meltdown behind (and on) the bench

19

17

36-30-9

6-4-0

Leading scorer Andy McDonald is on pace for just 52 points

20

23

33-28-14

4-4-2

Marty Turco and Mike Modano may be playing their last games as Dallas Stars

21

22

33-32-10

4-4-2

Blowing 2-0 lead versus Leafs on Saturday – in a game where Marian Gaborik got benched – could be the final deathblow

22

25

28-35-13

7-2-1

Jonas Gustavsson's strong finish is encouraging news for next year's crease scene

23

20

35-31-8

5-4-1

Almost time to start wondering if we'll see Scott Niedermayer in the NHL again after this season

24

24

31-35-9

4-4-2

Cam Ward has recovered from a back injury and will start Monday against Atlanta

25

21

36-33-6

5-5-0

Wild are finishing up the season in a black-and-blue state

26

28

31-34-10

5-3-2

Another lost year for Rick DiPietro, who was officially shut down because of swelling in his knee

27

26

31-32-13

6-2-2

Steve Mason has led Columbus to seven of a possible 10 points in his last five outings after a highly forgettable season

28

27

30-33-11

4-5-1

Hopefully David Booth is back healthy as ever to start next season

29

29

30-33-12

3-6-1

Bizarre stat of the day; Steve Downie is plus-15 and nobody else on the Bolts is a plus player

30

30

24-44-7

3-6-1

Taylor Hall or Tyler Seguin is becoming much more of a difficult choice as June draws closer

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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