Best Predators Performance: March 16, 4-2 win at San Jose
The Nashville Predators’ complete 60-minute performances have been few & far between this season, so any time one happens is worth noting. They rolled into San Jose to take on a Sharks team looking to clinch a playoff spot. It’s not like the Sharks weren’t going to win another game and get in, but it’s always nice to make another team work an extra game or two for it.
Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals on the evening, with Colton Sissons scoring the first & Filip Forsberg getting the goal that would prove the difference. Juuse Saros had a good night & only had to face twenty-six shots. The Predators were clicking on all cylinders and able to beat a Sharks team that didn’t exactly have a down night.
Worst Predators Performance: March 23, 5-0 loss in Winnipeg
Going in, this was touted as “the biggest game of the regular season”. We hear this multiple times a season, but a late-season meeting between the top two teams in the Central certainly carries a great deal of weight. The Predators were coming off of three straight wins followed by a shootout loss to Pittsburgh, so it looked like they were starting to find their way.
Of course, they laid an egg in this game. If you’ve followed this team this season, you were probably expecting it. The first period got off to a good enough start with neither team managing to score, but the Jets broke things open in the second with three goals while Nashville looked like they didn’t know where they were. Pekka Rinne was basically helpless, as his defensemen did what they’ve done too many times this season: failed to play defense.
It wasn’t a showing that inspired much confidence for the Predators’ postseason hopes.
Most Valuable Predator: Viktor Arvidsson
There was a time where I wondered if Arvidsson would be able to keep his stellar play going for the long haul. His 2016-17 season seemed so random compared to his rookie season and what’s typically expected from a fourth-round draft pick his size. 2017-18 was pretty much a carbon copy of 2016-17, and this season has to be considered even more impressive considering he’s missed twenty-four games due to injury.
Arvidsson scored seven goals in March, giving him a career-high of thirty-three. His assist numbers are way down, which is to be expected as he’s almost always on the same line with Ryan Johansen. (His four in March was third-most on the team, so that part of his game is coming back into form.) It took Arvidsson 274 games to make it to the 100 goal mark for his career, making him the fastest player that debuted with the Predators to make it to 100 goals. It took his linemate Filip Forsberg 281 games.
He’s now tied with Forsberg & Jason Arnott‘s Nashville Predators record for goals in a season. Had he been more healthy, he might have broken the record in February.