Nashville Predators Puck Drop: The Hammer Might be Dropped

Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) knocks down Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) during the second period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) knocks down Detroit Red Wings right wing Filip Zadina (11) during the second period at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Welcome to The Puck Drop, a weekly roundup of all things Nashville Predators. We look at news stories, social media posts, and everything else that has to do with, cue Paul McCann, YOUR NASHVILLE PREDATORS.

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The Predators find themselves back in a hole after their brief winning streak came to an end at the hands of the Red Wings on Thursday night.

While the Predators appeared to be clicking after their last win, bad habits once again reared their ugly head.

It seemed that Head Coach John Hynes had found some line combinations that were working well together. However, the Predators were unable to beat last-place Detroit.

The Predators might soon be that team that’s in last place.

Their last game against Columbus and even their shutout victory against Detroit may have been their most complete games this season, but inconsistent play continues to plague them.

If the Predators hope to claw their way up in the standings, the next few games are crucial. They are entering a five-game home stretch against some very stout opponents.

Finishing out February and heading into March, the Predators will face Carolina once, Columbus twice, and Florida twice. Florida sits atop the Central and will put this Predators’ team to the test.

This week, we look at Ryan Johansen’s return, a donut for Pekka Rinne, and the NHL announces the dates for the Predators’ rescheduled games.

59th Career Shutout For Rinne

Tuesday night against the Red Wings, Pekka Rinne put in a performance that should remind everyone why he is the greatest and not ready to throw in the towel.

Rinne made several key saves that harkened back to his younger days. He registered a 2-0 shutout, the 59th of his career. His GAA now sits at 2.52 on the year.

Even more impressive, only Marc-Andre Fleury (64) and Henrik Lundqvist (64) lead Rinne in career shutouts among active goaltenders. We still have to wait and see if Lundqvist can make his return to the NHL.

Congratulations on the shutout, Pekka. There will be tears when you lace up your skates for the final time.

Johansen Returns For The Nashville Predators

Tuesday night’s game against the Red Wings marked the return of Ryan Johansen to the lineup. He had been on the injured reserve list since February 8 with an upper-body injury.

Hynes opted to have Johansen center the third line with Nick Cousins and Eeli Tolvanen on the wings. This move putting the seasoned veteran in Johansen with Tolvanen should help further Tolvanen’s development.

It’s a hot topic in Nashville on where Johansen should be placed in the lineup. There’s an argument to be made from many different angles on what the Predators should do with Johansen.

Tolvanen’s Stock Is Rising

Fan’s have clamored for years to see Eeli Tolvanen in the Predators’ lineup. Due to the formation of “Taxi Squads” for this unique season, they are finally getting their wish.

Considered part of GM David Poile’s “youth movement,” Tolvanen has appeared in ten games so far this season,

With a wicked shot and considerable power-play skills, Tolvanen gains confidence and hones his skills on an NHL level with every start. I look for him to be a significant piece of future Nashville lineups.

NHL Announces Schedule Changes For Six Predators Games

With the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and harsh weather conditions, the NHL has had to be very flexible with scheduling this season. Several teams have had postponements, and the NHL has done an excellent job of rescheduling those games.

The Predators have had three games postponed due to the pandemic (Carolina Hurricanes) or severe weather conditions (Dallas Stars). The NHL announced six Predators games that have had date changes and two with time changes.

The story below from Nashville Predators’ Brooks Bratten highlights the changes to Nashville’s schedule.

Must Read. Nashville Predators: Who Is Truly to Blame For Their Failures?. light