Even with all of the roster turnover from injuries and trades, the Nashville Predators refuse to quietly bow out of the race for the playoffs after their 5-4 overtime win over the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.
The Predators have been chasing that final wildcard spot for weeks now, but a major sell-off at the trade deadline signaled that the team was more focused on the long-term future. Now former General Manager David Poile calls it a “reset”, and this reset could still find the Nashville Predators in the playoffs for the ninth year in a row.
For that to happen, you can’t take too many more losses, and especially against non-playoff teams like the Ducks. That’s no disrespect to the Ducks, who are actually playing a high-energy brand of hockey that’s fun to watch. We saw that in this game.
On paper it’s probably not a matchup the casual hockey fan would circle as appointment viewing, but it ended up being a game that any hockey fan would enjoy.
How the Nashville Predators Capped Off their Grueling Road Trip
The Predators entered this game at the Ducks without a home game for the entirety of the month of March. Time is running out on their playoff hopes, and the injuries keep piling up.
The young phenom Luke Evangelista was the latest scratch from the lineup due to injury, forcing the lineup to be reshuffled yet again.
I really liked how the Predators opened up this game with high energy and attacking the offensive zone. A power play goal from
got the scoring going as he made an aggressive play towards the high danger area and put the puck into some net front traffic to fool
It originally looked like Tomasino was looking to deflect it off of Colton Sissons, but either way, it was the right idea by him to get the Predators on the board first.
Tomasino has eight points in 13 games since being called-up after the Filip Forsberg injury on February 11.
The Predators kept the intensity at a high level after Tomasino’s goal with Tommy Novak scoring his 11th goal of the season thanks to a hard forecheck and forcing a Ducks giveaway in their own zone.
This was a milestone point for Roman Josi as he notched the assist to give him 600 career points in the NHL. He sits at the top on the all-time franchise list for the Nashville Predators in points, with David Legwand at 566 and Forsberg at 511.
Josi is moving into all-time great territory for points among defenseman in NHL history. Now that he’s hit the 600-point milestone, he’s 45th among defensemen in points all-time and will pass a lot of guys before his career is up.
The Ducks refused to go away in this one. As I said, this team brings the speed and aggressiveness. They have some young talent that’s going to speed up their rebuild and have them contending for a playoff spot in the next couple of years.
Mason McTavish, one of those talented offensive weapons, got the Ducks on the board with his 15th of the season. The Ducks would add another one to tie it in the 2nd period, which was the only goal by either team in the middle frame.
Things got tricky in the third period when Kiefer Sherwood gave us a Sportscenter Top 10 worthy highlight by banking his shot off the back of Gibson to put the Predators back ahead. It was Sherwood’s first goal since the season-opener and just his ninth goal of his NHL career.
Yakov Trenin would pad the lead back to two goals, but again the Predators defense got diced up from time to time and the Ducks pushed back.
The Ducks would tie the score at 4-4 with two goals in the final 2:21 of regulation. McTavish would get his second of the night, while Troy Terry got the other goal.
The action would come back again, this time with Tomasino as the puck carrier, and he would find Novak for the overtime winner to finish off the road trip at 4-1-1 for the Nashville Predators.
It’s a significant win on a back-to-back to end a long road trip with everything else surrounding this team.
The Predators have 18 games remaining, and the schedule is about to ramp up in competition level to close out the 2022-23 season.
What’s Ahead for the Predators…
Next up the Predators will get the Detroit Red Wings as they finally return to Bridgestone Arena. The Red Wings just had a back-to-back of their own against the Boston Bruins, and commendably split the two games against the NHL’s best team.
The Red Wings, much like the Predators, have no room for error in the playoff race. Their hopes are even bleaker than the Predators, sitting seven points out of the a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference.
We’ll have to wait and see if any good fortune comes on the injury front for the Nashville Predators. Will they eventually get Forsberg back? It’s a situation you have to approach with caution because you don’t won’t to ever rush a player back too soon dealing with any sort of a head injury.
It’s going to be a lot of games crammed into a small time range to finish things out. The Predators will have no more than one day off between games leading all the way up to the final week of the regular season.