Nashville Predators: Overcome Injuries, Dismantle Red Wings

Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)
Nashville Predators (Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) /
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On Thursday night, the Nashville Predators served the Detroit Red Wings a massive beatdown, winning 7-1. Despite the absence of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Ellis, Matt Duchene, and many others, the Predators put together a spectacular effort on both sides of the ice.

Viktor Arvidsson celebrated his birthday by scoring his third career hat trick. Arvidsson had been in a bit of a scoring slump recently, so this was certainly a welcome sight.

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Colton Sissons’ picked up an assist and a milestone, scoring his 100th NHL point.

The Predators are currently on an 11-2-0 streak, which is best in the NHL over that span.

The Highlights

After a penalty-filled 1st period ended with no score, Detroit got on the board early in the 2nd period on a rebound off a skate that squeaked past goaltender Juuse Saros. That would be their only goal of the night.

Nashville answered quickly and aggressively as Nick Cousins stole the puck and made a beautiful pass to Arvidsson for his first goal of the night, which almost didn’t go in at first.

Rocco Grimaldi flashed his incredible speed, blowing past defenders and then dishing back to Erik Haula for a nifty backhander making the score 2-1.

Things then got a bit out of hand for a brief moment. Matt Benning was brutally boarded by Adam Erne, who was called for a 5-minute major penalty. Mathieu Olivier immediately came to Benning’s defense, delivering close to a dozen punches to Erne’s head.

The play was reviewed, and Erne only served a 2-minute minor while Olivier was ejected. Head Coach John Hynes received a bench penalty while “politely” telling the refs he believed they were incorrect. (I’m paraphrasing just a bit, there).

The Predators showed resilience and responded quickly as Sissons made a smart pass from behind the net to help Cousins score his 2nd of the night. With a score of 3-1, the 2nd period was done, but the Preds were not.

The 3rd period saw lots of back-and-forth action when Mikael Granlund finally broke free, taking it to the net himself for his 5th goal in the last nine games.

Arvidsson scored again when he and Grimaldi forced a 2-on-1, putting it right past flustered goaltender Jonathan Bernier. The Predators opened the lead making it 5-1.

Arvidsson forced another breakaway, and a penalty shot as Danny DeKeyser intentionally interfered with Arvidsson to stop yet another possible goal. However, Arvidsson was unphased and juked Bernier out of his skates on the penalty shot, completing his birthday hat trick.

Finally, Yakov Trenin capped off the onslaught with a highlight-reel goal, and the Predators finished the massacre with a 7-1 score.

The Kids Are Alright

There’s not a lot to analyze here. The Predators just look damn good right now.

The Predators have responded to a slew of injuries and slumping stars to emerge with an 11-2-0 record over their last 13. Rookies and “support” players have stepped up in a massive way to keep Nashville very firmly in the playoff hunt.

I wrote early in the season that the Predators have lacked an identity this year, and they’d have the best chance to start winning if they found one. Through this stretch, the Predators have had an identity rooted in grit and determination. They’re starting to trust each other more and play like a real team, a unit, not just a collection of players.

I think I speak for the majority of Preds fans when I say that I’m very excited to see what this team can look like when fully healthy.

Related Story. Nashville Predators: What a Fully Healthy Lineup Should Look Like. light

They have a gauntlet of a schedule for their next five games as they play Tampa Bay and Florida twice apiece, but more people are starting to believe that the Preds can play with anyone. We’ll see if our boys can scrape a few more wins together in the coming week!

The Nashville Predators will return home to face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, April 10 at 7:00 CST.