2021-22 Nashville Predators: Barely Squeaking In
The 2021-22 season was a remarkable one, on an individual level, for a lot of players on the Predators roster. They saw Josi put up 96 points, Forsberg and Matt Duchene both scoring over 40 goals, and Tanner Jeannot notch 24 goals and 17 assists.
So many career years, and yet the standings overall signaled a team going in the wrong direction.
That season, the Predators tied for 5th in the NHL on the power play with an astounding 24.4% success rate. Forsberg led the team on the power play with seven goals.
Seeing as how scoring goals has, for the most part, been a struggle for this team, finishing tied for 12th in the league in goals scored with 262 was quite the accomplishment. One area that hindered this team quite a bit was goaltending.
Relying on David Rittich as a back-up to Saros was not successful. Rittich started in 12 games and played in 17, allowing 49 goals on 431 shots, and having just a .886 save percentage.
Having to lean on Saros as much as they did, something happened late in the season that I think all Predators fans were very concerned about.
On April 26, 2022, the Nashville Predators suffered a devastating blow when, during the third period against the Calgary Flames, Saros went out with a high ankle sprain and missed the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.
That year the Predators faced the strong Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs as overwhelming underdogs. The Predators got swept by the Avalanche, only managing to score nine goals in four games yet giving up 21 goals. The first time in franchise history that the Predators were swept.
Rittich played in one game and allowed five goals on 13 shots during that series.
Connor Ingram got the nod after Rittich’s abysmal play and finished the series with a respectable .913 save percentage. The play in front of these goalies, the lack of scoring, and the quick speed of the Colorado Avalanche is what led to the early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs for this 2021-22 Nashville Predators team.