Things have not gone the way of the Nashville Predators recently. But, the recent struggles does not mean it is time to hit the panic button.
It was the best of time, it was the worst of times. After starting the season on a stellar run, the Nashville Predators have cooled off. What’s cooler than cool? Ice cold. That is what they are right now. The Predators won their first 8 road games on the season. They are 0-5-1 since.
And, they lost two very winnable home games during their most recent homestand. At least they defeated the Buffalo Sabres and Chicago Blackhawks. But, what once was the best team in the NHL has dropped to eight points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team they defeated twice already. With Calgary beating the Predators on Saturday, the Flames overtook the top spot in the Western Conference.
Of course, the fact that three top forwards and an elite defender are missing in action does not help things.
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Last season, Nashville lost their tenth game of the season on December 30, 2017. At that point, they were 23-10-6. Right now, the Predators are 19-10-1. The significance about the tenth lost last season is it was the last game the team played without Ryan Ellis. After that, minus a few games here and there, the Predators were healthy. The team went 30-8-5 after Ellis’s return.
No. Things are not going well right now. Juuse Saros is more porous than a piece of college-ruled paper. In his last three starts, the Predators’ heir-apparent in net has allowed 14 goals on 76 shots. That is a .815 save percentage. On the season, Saros has a -7.32 GSAA, more than 10 points below his career low. Doesn’t help the team allowed 41 high danger chances in those three games.
Here are some interesting facts.
With Viktor Arvidsson, the Predators are 10-3-0. Without? 9-7-1.
For P.K. Subban, it is 13-4-1 with and 6-6-0 without.
And Kyle Turris, the team is 16-6-1 with him in the lineup and 4-4-0 without.
Lastly, Filip Forsberg. The team is just 2-2 without him, and the team was missing the other three players as well. While missing him stinks, it seems missing Subban has the greatest effect on the roster.
There is some good news. Kyle Turris was on the ice today wearing a non-contact jersey. He may be close to returning. However, Austin Watson left practice today with an apparent foot injury.
It’s been four weeks since we lost Arvidsson and Subban. The original word for Arvidsson was a 6-to 8-week timetable There is hope we are close to his return. Forsberg is about two weeks into his 4- to 6- week absence.
Let’s say we give them both three more weeks. That means we see them on January 1, 2019. Game number 41. There will be 42 total games left to play. Plenty of time to right the ship and make a major run.
Just like when Ryan Ellis returned last season. Leave the jolly, bright, candy-apple red panic button alone.