Nashville Predators Take Another Blow in Comfortable Win over Sharks

Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59), right wing Nino Niederreiter (22), centers Matt Duchene (95) and Tommy Novak (82) celebrate during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi (59), right wing Nino Niederreiter (22), centers Matt Duchene (95) and Tommy Novak (82) celebrate during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports /
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It didn’t come without a cost, but the Nashville Predators avoided the proverbial trap game loss on Thursday night against the San Jose Sharks in a 6-2 final score.

Already without Filip Forsberg and Alexandre Carrier for a while now, the Nashville Predators have suffered another two significant injuries to their forward core with Ryan Johansen getting injured against the Canucks, and Juuso Parssinen against the Sharks.

Johansen is almost certainly out for the season regardless of if the Predators make the playoffs, and Parssinen suffered what looked to be some sort of an upper body injury to his shoulder or arm:

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Parssinen only saw a little over five minutes of ice time in this game following what has been an efficient stint over his last few games, including two assists in Tuesday’s win over the Canucks.

Overall, this was a strong, business-like performance by the Nashville Predators over a depleted San Jose Sharks team that is already thinking towards next season. It was third win in the season series, with the first two coming at the NHL Global Series in Prague to start 2022-23 back in October.

The Predators got one of Mikael Granlund‘s better performances in recent memory, scoring two goals and an assist while coming in second on the team in Expected Goals behind Tommy Novak.

This was Granlund’s first three-point game dating back to last season on April 26 against the Calgary Flames. He looked much more aggressive on the puck while playing alongside Philip Tomasino and Cody Glass.

The passing and offensive structure looked very crisp. Tomasino tallies two assists while Matt Duchene added three assists to get him to 29 on the season and second on the team.

Novak continued his hot streak he has been on which is now at eight points in his last four games. He was called up over two months ago and is already establishing his NHL career highs after playing in 27 games in his first NHL season.

Nino Niederreiter scored twice as well, while Yakov Trenin added a shorthanded goal off an assists from Cole Smith, who was aggressive on the penalty kill to create the giveaway and scoring chance.

What Can We Take Away from This Win?

As I mentioned at the opening, you can’t take any game for granted right now regardless of opponent. The Arizona Coyotes reminded us of that not too long ago, and the Sharks did shutout the Seattle Kraken earlier this week and also have wins over the Capitals and Lightning this month.

We can’t be picky here with who these wins come against, and each win as the trade deadline is almost here will make it more complicated on what General Manager David Poile decides to do. His decision would be much more clear cut if the Predators lost these games against bad teams.

A soft portion of the schedule is giving the Nashville Predators a chance to hang around in the quest for their ninth-straight postseason appearance despite such a rollercoaster that is plagued with inconsistency.

I know that’s not what a lot of fans want to hear who are pro-rebuild and rip it all apart, but the reality is the Predators just don’t have a ton of valuable assets to move that’s going to move the needle all that much.

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The growing positive trend from this team is the younger players continuing to make their presence known and be strong contributors to the scoring. Glass, Novak, Parssinen and now Tomasino all deserve some serious credit for how they’re progressing.

As for Parssinen and how long he’ll be out, it’s hard to say but it stretches the roster even thinner. They already called up Kiefer Sherwood, who is deserving, to fill in for Johansen. They’ll have to dig even deeper into the AHL pool and possibly be on the lookout for Egor Afanasyev to make his NHL debut.

The Predators really need Forsberg back as soon as possible, and it’s possible he could be finally ready to return by Sunday against the Arizona Coyotes. Another game you can’t afford to leave without two points.