The Nashville Predators had a rough end to the month of November with a scoring drought, a few losses and a rash of injuries during Thanksgiving week. However, things are still on schedule for the Predators as they currently sit in third place in the Central Division as of Dec. 3 in one of the automatic playoff spots.
Nashville got off to a very good start in October, but was inconsistent for stretches. They put up a pair of 7-goal performances against the Ottawa Senators and the Winnipeg Jets, but the Predators lost their scoring touch. Nashville was blanked in three straight games before finding a few goals against the Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.
Since my articles pointing out the Nashville Predators October and November schedules were so popular, here it for December.
Dec. 5 at Detroit Red Wings
Time: 7 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Fox Sports Detroit
Why you should watch: This used to be an old Central Division rivalry when the Wings were in the Western Conference. It used to be one of the biggest rivalries according to Predators fans. Both cities also are hubs for the auto-making industry. Predators fans will also get a look at how good Dylan Larkin is. Nashville will host Detroit on Boxing Day (Dec. 26) to round out the season series.
Chicago Blackhawks (Dec. 8 at Chicago; Dec. 10 at Nashville)
Time: 8:30 p.m. (Dec. 8); 8 p.m. (Dec. 10)
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Comcast Chicago
Why you should watch: It’s the old rival. Detroit may have been the team that Nashville loved to hate, but Chicago has filled the void after the Wings left for the Eastern Conference. When I asked who was Nashville’s biggest rival in a past poll question, the Blackhawks received 105 votes. That was 63-percent of the vote, which was three times more than the next closest vote-getter, Detroit.
Nashville fans always felt like they’ve had something to prove to Chicago fans. Some Hawks fans take liberties and mock Nashville not being a real hockey town. (To be fair, most Chicago fans are just kidding and have respect Predators fans.)
The games could be a chance for Nashville to get a measure of revenge for the playoff loss it suffered at the hands of Chicago. Some points against the defending champs would go a long way to helping the Predators gain some confidence against the Blackhawks.
Dec. 28 vs. New York Rangers
Time: 8 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; MSG; TVA
Why you should watch: It could be the second time that great goalies Pekka Rinne and Henrik Lundqvist take on each other. King Henrik ended up blanking Nashville with 31 saves in the Blueshirts’ 3-0 win on Nov. 23. The loss was the second game where the Predators were shut out. I always will make it a point to watch when these two netminders are opposing each other.
Dec. 29 at St. Louis Blues
Time: 8 p.m.
Why you should watch: You’ve got plenty of reasons to check this game out. A) It’s a division rivalry. B) It will be the second time this month the Preds take on the Blues. (The two play each other in St. Louis on Dec. 17). C) It will be a chance for Predators fans to see one of the best in the world in Vladimir Tarasenko, as he takes on one of the best defenses in the league. D) Barret Jackman returns to St. Louis. E) It’s one of the four games this season that Nashville will have on national television.
Dec. 31 at Dallas Stars
Time: 8:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Fox Sports Southwest
Why you should watch: This is another divisional game, but it’s against a team that’s setting the pace in the Western Conference. The Stars have been scoring goals, but have gotten solid defense from John Klingberg, and the goalie duo of Antii Niemi and (the now injured) Kari Lehtonen have been perfectly used by coach Lindy Ruff.
This will also be the old-fashioned contrast of styles with the Stars’ powerful offense vs. the Predators’ outstanding defense. A win against Dallas would be a great way round out 2015, and give Nashville some positive vibes going into the New Year.
I know THW Dallas Stars writer Matt Pryor has been looking forward to this game for a while.
I'm looking forward to the Roman Josi – John Klingberg showdown on New Year's Eve, but this could be good, too: https://t.co/kFRVrozu8U
— Matt Pryor (@BigTex1926) November 10, 2015
Honorable mention: Dec. 19 vs. Minnesota; Dec. 21 vs. Montreal.
Did I miss any games? Let me know in the comments below.