NHL Power Rankings: Lightning strikes, Flames burn out

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 24: Ondrej Palat
NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 24: Ondrej Palat /
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WINNIPEG, MB – MARCH 25: Kyle Turris
WINNIPEG, MB – MARCH 25: Kyle Turris /

3. Nashville Predators (-2)

The Nashville Predators are on a path to return to the Stanley Cup Final for the second year in a row. This year they are deeper and even better positioned to win. All the Predators did in the offseason was get better, and every move they made has panned out. As long as Nashville can avoid a run of injuries, they will be favorites for the cup. The Nashville Predators do not have one person carrying the team but what they do have is 10 players with more than 30 points. This depth of scoring is what will ultimately carry the Predators to success.

Nashville has a pretty unique schedule to end the season. Oftentimes teams will get a schedule heavy in divisional games or at least their own conference. Not the Predators. They play the San Jose Sharks before playing five straight Eastern Conference teams to end the regular season. Currently, Nashville is five points clear of the Winnipeg Jets for the top spot in the Central Division, so it isn’t a lock. Nashville likely will be able to clinch the division in their first couple games and they can put things on cruise control entering the playoffs. If the Predators win the division, their first round will be anything but easy. They likely will face the St. Louis Blues or one of the Pacific division teams that finish as a wild card. Nashville beat the Buffalo Sabres and Minnesota Wild to win two of their last five games.