The Nashville Predators have played 34 games this season – seven shy of halfway – and they have yet to put together a win streak that suggests they will be a playoff team once they’ve completed their 82nd contest.
They won three straight before Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. They also won three straight about a month ago.
That’s as good as it has been thus far – and chances are that’s not good enough.
Six of the seven times the Predators made the playoffs they had a run of at least five straight wins during the first half of the season. Their opportunity to do so this time is just about finished.
The exception was 2007-08, when their longest run of wins was three games, but they did so three times. So maybe all Barry Trotz and his players need to do is win three in a row once more before they play Game 42 on Jan. 4 at Florida.
LONGEST WIN STREAKS
First 41 games (82-game seasons only)
MADE THE PLAYOFFS
8 games, 2005-06
7 games, 2009-10
6 games, 2003-04
5 games, 2006-07 (twice)
5 games, 2010-11
5 games, 2011-12
3 games, 2007-08 (three times)
MISSED THE PLAYOFFS
4 games, 1999-00
3 games, 1998-99
3 games, 2000-01
3 games, 2001-02
3 games, 2008-09 (twice)
2 games, 2002-03
The reality is that regardless of when it happens, the Predators are going to have to string together wins at some point. They’re currently sixth in the Central Division and 10 points out of the current Western Conference playoff position.
“We have to play our team game,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We have an identity right now of how we have to play and I think guys are buying into that. … We’ve had stretches where we’ve lost three in four games at a time. We just have to win the next one, I think. We’re just trying tolive in the moment right now because we’ve got chasing to do and some catching up to do.
“… If you try to look at the big picture you can get lost in where you need to go.”