Top line missing in action
I said all along that the Predators need support for the top line. That Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg can’t carry this team on their own in the playoffs. The reverse ended up happening. The top line manages just four points in the series, and none of those from Arvidsson. Credit Dallas for having a suffocating defensive plan that agitated the Nashville top guns from getting much room to operate freely. Arvidsson never looked comfortable and Forsberg often looked agitated and disinterested.
The top line disappearing is another major factor, along with the power play, for why the Predators are heading home early. You just can’t have that happen in the playoffs. The end result shouldn’t be too shocking when you see the lack of production from a top line that carried you for much of the season.
It actually got to the point that Peter Laviolette broke up the top line in Game 6, putting Rocco Grimaldi out there. Laviolette clearly saw something wasn’t clicking with this unit, but maybe he waited too long to have the courage to make that big of a move. Grimaldi is the top performer of the series for the Predators with three goals, and you can argue should’ve been moved up sooner. If the top line even produces half of what they’re capable of, then the Predators win this series. Instead they’re relegated to a non-factor, forcing the bottom lines to beat them. Not a formula for playoff success.