The Nashville Predators currently hold a record of 16-5-2. Nashville’s 34-points in the standings puts them atop the Western Conference and puts the Predators in a five way tie for the number-one spot in the entire league (when just looking at overall points).
The Predators have won their last four games with all four being extremely tight contests. The winning streak includes wins over the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Edmonton Oilers, and the Columbus Blue Jackets. Three of the four were won in overtime or in the shootout and the lone victory in regulation was a one-goal contest.
So, while the Predators have made a statement in winning their last four games to take a seat in a first place spot in the league standings they have shown us a few things while finding ways to win in extremely tight back-to-back-to-back-to-back contests.
Nashville Can Win While Not At Their Best
The Predators may have had their worst overall game of the season while looking back at the Thanksgiving Day game against Edmonton. For most of the night, and definitely in the first two periods, Edmonton dominated the game. Most of the play was seen in the Predators’ zone and the Oilers had many more quality scoring chances despite Edmonton in the middle of a seven game losing streak at the time with many rumors and opinions flying around the struggling Canadian hockey team.
Edmonton out shot Nashville 37-25, the third most shots the Oilers have put on net this season and the fourth fewest amount of shots the Predators have posted this season. Nashville also had 14-giveaways while Edmonton only had two. The part of the game that really stood out all night was the space the Predators allowed the Oilers to have in the neutral zone and ultimately entering Nashville’s zone.
As stated before the Oilers had plenty of chances to light the lamp and maybe even put the game away but Pekka Rinne played as he has all season, dominant. Rinne stopped 37 of 37 shots including a penalty shot the Oilers were rewarded in the early moments of the overtime period.
The Predators Are A Confident Bunch In Extra Time
Nashville’s record while going to overtime or to a shootout this season is 4-2 (3-1 in shootouts). Last season the Predators posted a 5-12 record when going to overtime or a shootout and only managed to win two of eleven shootouts last season. Now, of course no one knows what the future holds so the Predators may not go to extra time again this season, but if they do it is safe to say the Predators would be a confident group.
In the three games that have gone to overtime during the current four game win streak Nashville out shot their opponents 10-4, and take note, in the game against Edmonton the Predators only needed one shot to get the overtime victory courtesy of a Filip Forsberg game winner.
In the two contests that have gone to the shootout during the win streak Rinne has not allowed one goal in the 11-shots he has seen, seven of them actually being saved by Rinne.
Adversity? What Adversity?
In the win over Florida on November 22 the Predators held a 2-0 lead with under one-minute left in regulation. The Panthers cut the lead in half with 43-seconds remaining then tied the game just 12-seconds later.
Every bit of the game’s momentum fell to the Panthers’ side as the air was sucked out of Bridgestone Arena with Florida sending the game into overtime.
The overtime period came and went and the game headed into a shootout that had ‘Heartbreak Predators’ Loss’ written in the headlines, especially seeing that Panthers’ netminder Roberto Luongo had stopped 48 of the Predators’ 50-shots on the night. However, the Predators found a way to win the game in the shootout courtesy of Forsberg sending a shot past Luongo and Rinne not allowing a Panthers’ player to score in their four attempts.
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Like stated earlier, the Predators have shown a lot during their current four-game win streak. Nashville found ways to win games they ‘shouldn’t have’ and in many different ways. The Predators came from behind to beat the Kings in overtime, somehow found a way to hold off the Panthers in the shootout following their extremely late heroic efforts, find a way to beat an Oilers team in overtime that outplayed them, and score a late game winner to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1.
Also, let’s not forget how impressive Rinne has been not only during the win streak but the entire season. Rinne is 16-3-1 this season. His 16-wins are the most in the NHL. He has a posted a .933 save percentage (2nd in the NHL) and a 1.82 goals allowed average (2nd in the NHL). Rinne also has two shutouts to his name so far this year (6th in the NHL).
Nashville has seemingly pulled out all the stops in winning their last four contests to make for some thrilling hockey. Can the Predators keep the streak alive when they travel to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on Tuesday night?
What has stood out to you all during the win streak and throughout this season overall? Let us know in the comments section below.