The month of January will not be an easy one for the Nashville Predators. Of the 12 games in January, only three are at home.
Nashville already played one away game this month, a 2-1 overtime victory over the Carolina Hurricanes Saturday. However, the Hurricanes are the only Eastern Conference team the Predators will face in January.
Seven of the next eight games are against Central Division opponents — the Winnipeg Jets, three times; Chicago Blackhawks, twice; Minnesota Wild, once; and Colorado Avalanche, once.
“It’s going to be a really big month for us,” said goaltender Pekka Rinne. “And we just have to be ready for it, mentally ready for the road trip.”
The Predators have had little success on the road this season with a 7-8-4 record, but they are not in a place in the standings they can afford to have a bad month. Currently, they are sitting in the second wild-card spot with a 19-13-7 record and 45 points.
“It’s a little tougher on the road,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “Our road record could be better, that’s for sure. Certainly, the month of January presents some challenges.”
One advantage in this road-heavy schedule is the Predators return to Nashville for two games in between two four-game road trips.
“It’s good to get home for a break,” Laviolette said. “It’s better than staying on the road for all [eight] of them. It’s good we get home to catch a break.”
This schedule is just a consequence for having a home-heavy month of December when Nashville played nine of 15 at Bridgestone Arena. So, Laviolette and the Predators are not going to complain.
“December was a good month,” said Laviolette. “We had a lot of home games. It’s even. 41 a piece.”
Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer for The Hockey Writers. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW, and e-mail him at email@example.com.