The Nashville Predators currently sit atop both the Central Division and NHL standings, and are on pace to win the first divisional championship banner and Presidents’ Trophy in franchise history.
One of the teams chasing Nashville — the Chicago Blackhawks — have acknowledged it’s pretty tough to make up ground.
“It’s difficult to catch (the Predators). They seem to be winning every game,” Brent Seabrook said after Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Detroit, per the Tribune. “Everything is tightening up and everybody is getting ready for the playoffs.
Nashville heads into Thursday’s action on a six-game winning streak and nine points up on Chicago in the standings — with a game in hand. The Preds are also six points clear of St. Louis, the second-place team in the Central, and six up on Montreal in the overall standings.
What Nashville’s done this season is nothing short of remarkable. The team has yet to suffer anything more than a two-game losing streak and still hasn’t lost consecutive games in regulation (both of the Preds’ two-game skids this year included an OT and shootout loss.) Their .737 points percentage is a franchise-best and, should they maintain it, would have the highest 82-game total since Washington posted a .738 during the 2009-10 campaign.
While the Preds have finished ahead of the ‘Hawks in their division before — most recently in 2011-12 — Chicago has been one of the NHL’s elite teams over the last five years and has a pair of Stanley Cups to show for it. But this year, the ‘Hawks aren’t just looking up at the Preds in the standings; they’re on the verge of accepting that the chase might be over.
“When you play three or four games a week, it’s hard to win those three or four games,” Kris Versteeg said, per the Tribune. “It’s going to be tough, the (Predators) are rolling.”