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The Week Ah-Pred: Oct. 28

by Jimi Russell / Nashville Predators

"So, let’s see here… altitude: 21,000 feet. Speed: 520 knots. Level flight. Course: zero-niner-zero. Trim and mixture: wash, soak, rinse, spin." Airplane!/Paramount Pictures
Well… it’s time to pack the bags and hit the road as the Preds embark on a franchise-record tying seven-game road swing; the Predators also played seven straight on the road earlier this year from Jan.22-Feb. 5, 2013, and first played seven straight on the road from Oct. 30-Nov. 12, 2002.

Five of the seven games on this road swing come against teams outside of the Central Division – two against the Pacific and three against Eastern Conference teams. So any points Nashville can garner from outside of the Division are tremendously important (I don’t even think the word “tremendously” is a strong enough adverb for how important these games are for the Preds).

The trip will last a total of 17 days, the longest stretch away from the Music City in franchise history, and see the team go to Phoenix, Los Angeles, Colorado, Winnipeg, New Jersey, New York (Long Island) and Pittsburgh to wrap things up on Nov. 15.  So... that’s seven flights, four different time zones, seven different hotels and more than 5,500 miles of air travel. (Stay tuned for my behind-the-scenes travel blog sponsored by Renaissance Hotels later this week, where I’ll have some pictures, videos, interviews and anecdotes from the road).

The next time you get to see your beloved Preds at Bridgestone Arena? November 16 against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks on “Keep the Red Out” night!

Looney Toons/Warner Bros.
In this week’s edition, the Preds gear up to face the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings. Next week’s edition will come to you from sunny (and hopefully warm) Los Angeles before the team heads to Colorado, Winnipeg and New Jersey.

Nashville Predators at Phoenix Coyotes – Thursday, 9 p.m. CT
Happy Halloween! The Preds head to the desert on Thursday night for the first and only time this season. Nashville will look to bounce back from a 6-1 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues last Saturday, and it will be important to get this extremely long road trip off to a good start. The Coyotes, who have posted a 7-3-2 record (prior to their game on Tuesday vs. Los Angeles), have matched the club’s best start in more a dozen years. The Coyotes also have one of the NHL’s highest-scoring offenses, averaging 3.33 goals per game (fourth in the NHL). The Preds will need to jump on the ‘Yotes in a hurry in the not-so-friendly confines of Arena. Sidenote: The Preds are 4-2-1 all-time on All Hallow's Eve.

      Monty Python and the Holy Grail/Python Pictures
Nashville Predators at Los Angeles Kings – Saturday, 9:30 p.m. CT
It’s another late start from the road and another important outing for the Preds. These two teams met at the tail end of Nashville’s five-game homestand in October, as the Kings snuck away with a shootout win. This is the final meeting between the two teams this season, so why not go out with a bang in Tinsel Town? Things look promising for Nashville, as it has won 11-of-20 games against the Kings since the beginning of the 2008-09 season (11-8-1), and the Kings are the only Western Conference team that the Preds have a winning record against on the road (14-11-3), but a losing record against at home (10-14-4).

Roman Josi remains sidelined with a concussion. The good news is: Josi has been skating with the team as of late and it is quite possible the Swiss defenseman returns to the lineup at some point on the road trip.
Pekka Rinne is on IR with a hip injury.

Brendan Leipsic (fourth round, 2012) posted his 100th career goal just 51 seconds into Portland’s 4-3 win at Spokane over the weekend. The goal was part of a three-point night (1g-2a) for 5-8, 167-pound forward, who has tallied points in all nine of Portland’s games this month (7g-9a-15pts). A season ago, the Winnipeg, Man., native became the first Winterhawk to win the CHL scoring title since 1996-97 (Todd Robinson). Leipsic, along with current Predator Seth Jones, helped Portland win the 2013 Scotty Munro Trophy as regular-season champions, the Ed Chynoweth Cup as WHL playoff champions, and reach the 2013 Memorial Cup Final.

Roman Josi and Nick Spaling celebrate Halloween

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 26: Cancer patient Tristan Soto, 11, center, gets a referee sweater and a tour from referee Dan
O'Halloran #13, referee Gord Dwyer #19 and linesman Don Henderson #91 prior to a game against the St. Louis Blues at Bridgestone Arena on October 26, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)


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