The 2014-15 NHL season just came to a close a week and a half ago, but it is already time to look toward the upcoming year. On Thursday, the NHL released the 2015-16 regular season schedule for all 30 teams.
After an unfulfilled last season, the Nashville Predators should be anxious for the opening puck drop against the Carolina Hurricanes at Bridgestone Arena on October 8.
Before giving the top five games, here are the facts of the Predators’ schedule:
- Preds play 14 Saturday home games
- Preds will play two five-game road trips from Nov. 20-27 and March 5-14
- December holds the most home games at nine
- January holds the most road games at nine
- Preds play twelve back-to-backs
- Preds will host the NHL All-Star Weekend for the first time. The Skills Competition will be on Saturday, Jan. 30, and the Game will be on Sunday, Jan. 31.
- Preds’ last game against the St. Louis Blues is Feb. 27, and their last game against the Chicago Blackhawks is Feb. 25.
5. Oct. 10 vs Edmonton Oilers
Assuming Connor McDavid gets drafted by the Edmonton Oilers later this week, Bridgestone Arena will only host the strong rookie of the year contender once this season. McDavid, the top ranked prospect in the 2015 draft, is considered to be the next Sidney Crosby. USA Today’s Johnny Saraceno event went the length to call McDavid the “Lebron James of hockey.”
Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette will try his best to shut the McDavid down by matching Shea Weber and Roman Josi against him. It will be entertaining to see how well McDavid does against the best defense duo in the NHL.
4. Feb. 27 vs St. Louis Blues
Nashville plays Central Division rival St. Louis five times this season. The final meeting of the regular season will be on Feb. 27. Puck drop for this Saturday game is at an odd 2:00 p.m. start. Every game in the season series last year was decided by a one-goal margin.
After yet another disappointing season, the Blues are expected to revamp its roster this season by trading away key players like T.J. Oshie.
3. Dec. 10 vs Chicago Blackhawks
This will be the first of two times Chicago, another divisional rival, comes to town and just two days after the teams face off at United Center. The Preds and Blackhawks will play each other five times this season with two being in the Music City and three being in the Windy City.
Nashville will be anxious to play the defending Stanley Cup Champions who knocked them out of the playoffs in the first round.
Though the Blackhawks will be up against the salary cap this summer, the core pieces of Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Corey Crawford will remain with the team this season.
2. Apr. 9 @ Dallas Stars
Nashville’s regular season will conclude in Dallas for the second year in-a-row. Last season, the Stars’ Jamie Benn secured the NHL scoring title by tallying four points against the Preds. This season, it could be a win-and-in situation for a playoff spot. Whatever the case may be, it is sure to be an entertaining, physical game, per usual.
1. Dec. 26 vs Detroit Red Wings
If there was one Eastern Conference team the Predators could play more than twice it would be the Red Wings. Nashville and Detroit used to have a inter-divisional hatred for each other when both teams were in the Central Division. Unfortunately, realignment for the 2013-14 season split the teams up, and the rivalry essentially ended.
Nashville will host Detroit once this season the day after Christmas on Saturday. This will be the one and only time Smashville can relive the glory days. Detroit leads the all-time series with a 58-42-4 record.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.