Even though they were outplayed by the NHL’s best team, the Washington Capitals, on Friday, the Predators are hot, and no one wants to face them. They started the season nearly nonexistent, but they showed up at the perfect time to put themselves in great shape for the NHL Playoffs.
This might end up as the total opposite of last season. Nashville was on a roll all season long, but went on a pitiful losing streak heading into the playoffs. One could argue that losing towards the end put a dent in their confidence, and that would be an agreeable statement.
Struggling against some of the NHL’s best could put an ice cold end to their hot streak. In the playoffs, they’ll more than likely meet up with some of the NHL’s best, especially their own rivals the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks are currently 42-24-6 and are sitting just five points ahead of the Predators in the Central standings. The Central Division leaders, Dallas Stars, are one of the teams the Predators defeated in their dominance through the NHL.
In order to make a strong push through the final games of the NHL season, and the playoffs, Nashville’s going to need some help from the following players.
Ryan Johansen: Johansen will go down as one of the best trades for the Predators. Since the trade, he’s had six goals and 16 assists. He’s been an active piece for the Predators. If he can stay that way, there’s no doubt the Predators will be competitive from here on out.
Filip Forsberg: He’s been great for the Predators all season, and he’s only getting better. His best month of the season was February. He completed two hat tricks in a week, aiding in the Predators huge point streak. He leads the team in goals with 29 on the season, followed by James Neal’s 27.
Pekka Rinne/Carter Hutton: The Predators have consistently switched between the two goalies, and when Hutton’s called upon, he has impressed. Rinne’s had his fair share of struggles this season, and the Predators can’t afford that. Whoever they decide to throw in at the goalie position needs to be on their a-game and allow Nashville’s stars to put their team up front to keep them from falling behind.
James Neal: Not much to say about Neal, except the fact that he’s been a consistent player for Nashville. He needs to make sure that continues. He’s the Predators second leading scorer. Provide him with opportunities and let him do his thing.
Shea Weber: The Predators veteran has 17 goals this season for Nashville. The long-time Predator would love to get himself a Championship sometime now. This could be the year. Weber’s experience and leadership will be extremely helpful for the Predators. The Predators should take advantage of that.
It’s an exciting time of the year for Nashville. The playoffs are near, and you can feel it in the atmosphere. It doesn’t seem likely the Predators will make a deep run into the playoffs, but you never know what can happen when a team gets hot at the right time.
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