Unless you bought the NHL hockey cable package or regularly watch games at a favorite sports book, chances are you won’t see a lot of the Nashville Predators.
So, a quick lesson in Nashville hockey. At the start of the week, the Preds owned a seven game winning streak on the road and were tied for first place in the Central Division of the Western Conference with the powerful Detroit Red Wings.
That’s not too shabby for the NHL’s youngest hockey team.
The Preds have one legitimate superstar, winger Paul Kariya who began his career with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Kariya, considered one of the fastest skaters in the world, is second on the team in scoring with 13 points. He leads with 10 assists, which is his trademark as he is more proficient as a passer than goal scorer.
Steve Sullivan is the top scorer with 14 points and tied with ex-New Jersey forward Jason Arnott in goals with five. Nashville is second in the conference in total goals with 47. Anaheim leads with 50. Buffalo tops the NHL with 63 in a sensational 12-1- start.
The goaltending has not been as advertised, surrendering 39 in 13 games. Tomas Vokoun, the No. 1 goalie, is been outplayed by backup Chris Mason thus far.
The Preds coast most of the week, idle until Friday’s test at Detroit and a quick return home to face Colorado on Saturday.
As for us, we hope to skate over the Mendoza with four picks.
Oilers at Canadiens (tue): We haven’t had much luck betting against the Habs, who are third in the Northeast behind Toronto and Buffalo. Edmonton is just 1-4 on the road. CANADIENS.
Lightning at Penguins (wed): The Penguins are the NHL’s darlings with both Malkin and Crosby off to great starts and the team winning seven of its first 11 games. Many forget Tampa Bay won the Stanley Cup prior to the strike year. Now, the Lightning sit last in the Southeast. PENS.
Sharks at Kings (thu): The Kings have struggled a bit at home, going 3-3-3. At least that’s better than their 1-6-0 road mark. San Jose is 5-3 on the road, just four points behind first place Anaheim and right now the better team. SHARKS.
Preds at Red Wings (fri): Nashville has been a thorn in Detroit’s side in the past, though usually just able to stay within a goal. Now they are capable of beating the younger Red Wings without Stevie Y and Shanahan. PREDATORS.