Every point absolutely matters for the Nashville Predators as the regular season winds down, and on Tuesday night on a back-to-back they managed to beat the Vegas Golden Knights in overtime.
gets the game-winning goal after the Predators drew a critical power play in the final two minutes of overtime, knowing that they couldn’t afford to leave the extra point on table as their playoff hopes hang on by a thread:
The Youth Delivers Again, Glass and Novak Combine for 5 Points
It’s the 14th goal of the season for Glass as he has continued to take on the role of being a top-six center and showing that his future is bright after the team has leaned on him heavily through all of the injuries and trades.
The Nashville Predators jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on two goals from the red-hot Tommy Novak, with one of them also coming on the power play. A welcome sight for the Predators as they’ve been seeming to build on some chemistry with the man advantage after going through some really dark times in that department.
The Golden Knights tested Kevin Lankinen with 32 shots on goal, but Nashville really put the clamps on in the third period by only allowing six Vegas shots on Lankinen.
Alex Pietrangelo had two goals for Vegas in the second period to tie the game, and make us all sweat as Vegas threatened to take the lead and virtually eliminate Nashville from whatever slim playoff hopes they have left.
But the Nashville Predators wouldn’t be denied. Much like a microcosm of their entire season, the Predators kept grinding away despite being heavy underdogs to the Pacific Division leading Golden Knights, who they themselves have a lot to play for looking for a division crown.
A huge amount of credit goes out to so many of these players who have also played extensive amount of games with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL this season, a team that clinched a spot in the Calder Cup Playoffs:
I also want to throw some kudos to Kevin Gravel, a player no one expected to get heavy minutes on the Predators third pairing coming into the season. He put up 16:41 of ice time, including 2:36 on the penalty kill, and tallied six blocked shots.
Without Josi, Jeremy Lauzon and Alexandre Carrier, the Predators defensive core has really been tested with inexperience. Not to mention Mattias Ekholm was traded at the deadline. And yet here they are digging deep and holding the Golden Knights to just two goals.
Latest Playoff Odds for the Nashville Predators
With this win, the Nashville Predators upped their playoff chances to 4.3 percent per MoneyPuck.com, with Calgary one point ahead and Winnipeg three points ahead.
The Predators no longer have the additional games in hand over Winnipeg, and they also don’t own the tiebreaker meaning they will have to finish at least one point ahead.
Remaining Schedules for NSH, WPG & CGY
Predators: CAR, @WPG, @CGY, MIN, COL
Jets: CGY, NSH, SJ, @MIN, @COL
Flames: @WPG, @VAN, NSH, SJ
This couldn’t have shaped up better for the NHL. All three teams left that are mathematically alive for the Western Conference’s last wildcard spot will play games head-to-head. Almost like a mini play-in tournament.
Calgary lost to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night, so their playoff hopes take a severe knock on the chin. Yes, we know how it feels to drop a game to the lowly Chicago Blackhawks, and that still looms large even though it happened three weeks ago at home in a 2-1 loss.
The Jets and Flames will do battle on Wednesday, and for the Jets they can really make it near impossible for the Predators to catch them. That’s why, as weird as it seems, we have to root for a regulation win for Calgary if you’re scoreboard watching in favor of the Predators.
No matter how you slice it, the Predators unfortunately no longer control their own destiny. They have to win out and hope Winnipeg stubs their toe, including losing in regulation and not getting points by just getting to overtime.
The Predators will absolutely have to defeat both Calgary and Winnipeg in regulation to get the ol’ four-point swing.
Regardless of what happens, the fact that we’re still talking about meaningful regular season games in April after everything that has happened surrounding the Nashville Predators is a mini miracle in and of itself.