Nashville Predators can find Stanley Cup hope in Super Bowl

(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

All eyes will be on Super Bowl LII in Minnesota as the New England Patriots meet the Philadelphia Eagles. What does it mean for the Nashville Predators?

It is the largest single sporting event in the United States. Last year, an estimated 111 million American’s tuned-in to watch the Super Bowl. Whether it is the game, the teams, the halftime show or the commercials, people watch the Super Bowl. This year will be no different, even if you have zero rooting interest in the New England Patriots or the Philadelphia Eagles. But, there is a story these two teams share coming into this matchup. And it is one the Nashville Predators can find hope in.

Let’s be honest: no one is really surprised the Patriots are in yet another Super Bowl. Many of us may not like the team, but they are consistently one of the best teams in the NFL. Maybe they cheat or maybe they pay off the referee. Regardless of our opinions, Tom Brady and company are always in contention.

The Philadelphia Eagles were not to be in this position. To start the season, the Eagles had 50-1 odds to win it all, and picked third in the AFC East. Led by second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, the team took control of the NFC and never looked back.

To get here, however, both teams dealt with the same issue the Nashville Predators have all season. Injuries.

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Wentz put up MVP-caliber numbers before an injury in Week 14 with an ACL tear. The Eagle inserted Nick Foles and everyone thought the season was over for Philadelphia. Yet, here they are in Super Bowl LII. Foles’s exploits in the playoffs put him in the conversation with the likes of Joe Montana.

The list of concerns with New England is much larger. Rob Gronkowski has been in and out of the line-up with injuries. The team placed receiver Julian Edelman on injured reserve to start the season. And, their co-captain and top defensive player, Dont’a Hightower, was lost for the season. Key players for both teams were not on the field to get to this moment. The Nashville Predators are in a similar position.

Sitting in second place in the Central Division, the Predators are in great shape to make the playoffs. The schedule is set up for the team to win the division. When you look at the list of injuries the team has withstood so far, it is incredible to see the team be successful.

Ryan Ellis was out for the first half of the season. Ryan Johansen has been out due to several injuries. Top scoring threat Filip Forsberg is still on injured reserve. Nick Bonino, Viktor Arvidsson, Scott Hartnell all missed significant time. The testing of the Predators’ depth will prove fruitful come playoff time.

And the team responded. Kevin Fiala is showing promise as a goal scorer. Craig Smith is drawing tons of attention. P.K. Subban leads the team in all scoring and is not showing signs of slowing. And the team has used great performances from Calle Jarnkrok and Mattias Ekholm to push the team to victory.

Next: Will Impact Players Drive Predators to Success?

So, take heart, Smashville. The team’s injuries mean others step up. Once completely healthy, the Nashville Predators will be dangerous.