What a response the Nashville Predators had to the disheartening loss on Saturday night. They get the huge, gutsy win over Winnipeg in overtime.
If you’re tired of not knowing what to expect from this Nashville Predators team, you might as well stick around until the end. The fact is you never know what team you’re going to get when watching the Predators.
Last night was as close to a must-win situation as you can get in early February. The Predators are jumbled up with several other playoff bubble teams who are all vying for just a couple wildcard spots.
This one went into overtime tied 1-1 after Nick Bonino had tied the game late in the first period for his 16th goal of the season. There was plenty of offensive attacks after that, but both goaltenders stood strong between the pipes.
The Predators needed this win badly, and they stayed with it after falling behind early in the game in what was a soft goal given up by Juuse Saros. After that, Saros was completely locked in and turned in one of his better performances of the season.
It was very refreshing to see Saros settle down after giving up the early goal to end up not surrendering another one after that. He finishes the game with 33 saves, which is good for a .971 save percentage.
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Saros made saves on all six of the shots he faced while the Jets were on the power play. The Jets went 0-for-3 on the power play overall as the Predators have been showing gradual improvement in this major weakness that’s been their penalty kill.
Another key takeaway from the game is Mikael Granlund‘s continued surge. The trade deadline is approaching and less than three weeks away. Granlund is one of my top targets to be traded, and he keeps raising his stock with his recent play.
Granlund has three goals in his last five games to up his season total to 11. Nowhere near where you would like to see him at considering he’s a former 60-plus point scorer, but he’s definitely on a surge as of late. He also logged over 20 minutes of ice time, which was the most out of all the forwards.
The Predators are now in a three-way tie with Chicago and Winnipeg as the next teams up trying to get into a wildcard spot. They have 57 points, while Calgary has 60 points and Arizona has 61 points, but with more games played.
Furthermore, the Predators are remaining very strong on the road. They’ve won six of their last eight on the road and their overall season record on the road is now 13-9-4, while their home record is 11-11-4.
The Predators have three more games left on their Canada road trip that is crucial to how the rest of the season will unfold and whether or not they’re going to be buyers, sellers or stay put on the February 24th trade deadline.
Next up is the Calgary Flames, one of the teams in a wildcard spot currently. The Flames always seem to have the number on the Predators. A team that doesn’t get a lot of national buzz, but they’re a very tough opponent.
Then the Predators take on the Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks, which are two other teams that aren’t too far ahead of the Predators in the playoff race. Massive implications ahead in the next week.