The Nashville Predators picked up two points against the Edmonton Oilers but dropped two games in the Central Division to the St. Louis Blues and the Winnipeg Jets. The good news? They’re on the verge of hitting their stride, and it comes with good timing.
Nashville Key Stats
Against St. Louis: none
Against St. Louis: none
What Happened (Edmonton)
Colton Sissons buried a rebound chance in the second period at 11:43 to tie the game, and then scored again at 13:07 thanks to a big bomb from P.K. Subban. Pekka Rinne came out large in the shootout, and a snipe from Brian Boyle and a slippery shot from Filip Forsberg lifted Nashville to victory.
What Happened (St. Louis)
New lines and bad chemistry contributed to the massacre in St. Louis. The score is not reflective of two things: how good Juuse Saros was, and how bad Nashville actually was in all situations. The Blues couldn’t manage but two goals, but Saros stopped 42 pucks.
What Happened (Winnipeg)
Viktor Arvidsson started everything with a slot shot in the first period at 15:21, and P.K. Subban ripped one on the power play at 12:12 in the second period. Nashville maintained a two-goal lead until Winnipeg scored four times in a row. Mattias Ekholm brought the game back to one at 19:01, but the second empty-net goal put everything away.
Some Stats For You
P.K. Subban is getting back to P.K. Subban things- bombs from beyond the circles. His two goals against Edmonton and Winnipeg were his sixth and seventh of the year.
Even when he’s not netting goals every night, he’s finding ways to contribute. Viktor Arvidsson notched his 27th goal of the year.
Filip Forsberg is in a slump- at least for a player with his caliber. He’s only recorded two assists in his last five games, and hasn’t looked entirely healthy since his return. Neither has Subban, or Kyle Turris (actually, ESPECIALLY Kyle Turris).
Rocco Grimaldi continues to impress, as his fifth assist of the year against Edmonton contributed to a new career high ten points.
This is all speculative, and in all honesty, none of these games really matter. What DOES matter is what happens when the playoffs are here.
I may seem crazy, but I believe the Predators are right where they need to be.
Dropping Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman wasn’t devastating to the lineup, and Mikael Granlund and Wayne Simmonds have a different kind of presence on the ice. Simmonds was seen chirping between the benches against Winnipeg. Granlund played a 200 foot game against Winnipeg- overall, they brought something the Predators haven’t had all season.
P.K. Subban scored on the power play, the first line outplayed Winnipeg’s first line, and overall the game felt different. There are more than enough signs to allude to this fact… the Predators will be peaking at the right time.
Don’t get me wrong, St. Louis has deservedly stormed their way back into the playoffs, and Winnipeg has held the Central Division at their throats since taking over the number one spot. However, St. Louis peaked way too early and will not be able to sustain their level of play, and Winnipeg only made one move at the trade deadline. This only reiterates that the Predators will find a way to win come playoff time.
The only two concerns I have are Kyle Turris and playing games in Bridgestone. No question about it- Kyle Turris HAS to catch up to speed. Were he to play this way in a month, head coach Peter Laviolette will have to replace him with a guy who’s been playing very well this year (see Colton Sissons).
The Predators have to establish a presence at home: come out, score a few goals, rattle the goalie, and play under conditions where they exceed; creating a sense of isolationism and panic on the other benches should be the goal (pun intended).
Also, Viktor Arvidsson will reach 33 goals. Count on it.
–Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for PenaltyBoxRadio.com and FullPressCoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15