With the release of the 2012-2013 shortened season schedule, many NHL fans are racing to their calendars, digital and paper, to circle dates against hated rivals. For Predators fans, it feels like its been ages since the second round of the 2012 playoffs.
Here are six games this year that every Predators fan should have marked on their calendar:
January 22, 2013: Predators at Minnesota Wild
In the first game against his former team, big free agent acquisition Ryan Suter hosts the Nashville Predators. With the two heavy hitters, Weber and Suter, now on opposite ends of the ice, expect some friendly firew
orks to start the game off. If the Suter storyline isn’t enough to grab your attention, the matchup against the Wild will be one of the first chances to see a team that many expect to much more competitive in the West this year.
February 7, 2013: Predators vs. Los Angeles Kings
Although it’s not the first matchup against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in the season, it will be the first time hosting the Kings in their own barn. With the Kings returning mostly the same lineup as last year’s championship team, the matchup should act as a solid measuring stick at not only the Predators chance to make the playoffs, but for how far they could go during them.
February 14, 2013: Predators vs. Phoenix Coyotes
On this Valentine’s Day matchup, there will be no love lost, as the Predators matchup with the team that bounced them in the Conference Semifinals the previous year. In the second game of the year against the Coyotes, Predators fans will have a much greater idea of where they stand in comparison to last year’s playoff team.
March 8, 2013: Predators at Edmonton Oilers
In the first matchup against 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov and the young Edmonton Oilers team; the Predators will have all they can handle offensively, going against a team that boasts Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, and Justin Schultz. The first of three matchups of the season with the Oilers, all in March, the Predators will have a chance to prove that they are more than just a perennial playoff contender.
March 9, 2013: Predators vs. Minnesota Wild
No surprise here. In one of the most anticipated games of the year, the Predators host the Minnesota Wild for the first return of defenseman Ryan Suter to the Bridgestone Arena. The burning question is what kind of reception he will receive coming back to Nashville after what many fans felt was an unfair process to the Predators.
April 25, 2013: Predators at. Detroit Red Wings
The Predators travel to Detroit to matchup against the Detroit Red Wings in a matchup that many expect to have playoff implications. For the second-to-last game of the season, a game versus the hated Red Wings, even after the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, will be easy enough to arouse excitement from even the most casual hockey fan.
Outside of working in politics, Nick also loves watching hockey at all levels. In addition to writing about the Nashville Predators for The Hockey Writers, Nick also writes for Faceoff Factor about his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.