The Nashville Predators have yet to clinch a playoff berth in the Western Conference race. Sports Club Stats gives the Preds a 99.7% chance to make the playoffs which is still at 96.7% if they drop their last two contests this weekend.
The service also gives the Predators a 30% chance to finish fourth and capture home ice advantage. Personally, I would place that a bit higher as I think the Preds are ready to win their last two contests to stay ahead of Phoenix and Los Angeles who have much tougher schedules in the final three games.
Therefore, let's speculate (emphasis added) as to when the home games might be taking in consideration that the playoffs start on Wednesday April 13 and that the Bridgestone Arena has events on Sat, April 16, Tue, April 19 and Thursday, April 21.
With Home Ice Advantage...
If the Predators stay in fourth and claim home ice advantage, it would make sense that Games one and two would be Wed. and Fri. the 13th and 15th. The next two road games would depend on Arena availability for the opponent which most likely will be the Kings or Coyotes should the Preds finish fourth.
Staples Center in L.A. has events on April 13 and 21 and will also have to compete with the L.A. Lakers playoff games which have yet to be scheduled.
Jobbing.com Arena in Phoenix is wide open with no events set during the first round window.
Therefore you would think games three and four on the road would be in the April 17-18 and 19-20 window. That would send game 5 back to the Bridgestone on the 22nd or 23rd. Then game six on the road would fall on the 24th or 25th. Finally, game seven at home could be on the 26th or 27th.
If the Preds Open on the Road...
If the Predators miss out on home ice advantage and finish fifth or sixth, they would still have a good shot at Phoenix or Los Angeles as the host but Detroit could come back into the picture. There would be a very small chance at San Jose as an opponent but we will not consider that here.
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is wide open so there would be no conflicts to work around.
With other events at the Bridgestone we would start with games three and four most likely being on the 17th or 18th and the 20th. That would place the opening two games on the road in the 13th to 16th range.
Then five on the road could be on the 22nd or 23rd and game six at home on the 24th or 25th. The Preds have played at home on Easter before so that would probably not be an issue. That would place game seven on the road on the 26th or 27th.
Once again, let me emphasize that this is pure speculation based on arena availability, opponents and where the Preds finish. It is merely a guess. Do not make any plans based on this projection as everything could change when/if the Predators make the playoffs and depending on who the opponent is.
This is simply an exercise in getting you ready for playoff mode and to get you geared up for the next few weeks.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass