Nashville Predators Snap Losing Streak, Get Back on Track with 6-3 Win Over St. Louis Blues

Maybe it wasn't technically a "must win", but it sure felt like it was necessary to put the Blues out of their misery.
Apr 4, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates
Apr 4, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators came into Thursday's game against the St. Louis Blues having lost three straight, and it was a true character test for them. They were on the verge of unraveling after having an 18-game point streak snapped, and in danger of losing grip on their playoff spot.

The Blues had the chance to make the Western Conference playoff race a real fight with momentum on their side, and it was a game that the Predators could not afford to lose. Thankfully, they overcame the adversity and held on to get a 6-3 victory on their home ice.

It was far from pretty, and it was always going to be that way given how desperate the Blues were to keep their postseason hopes within reach. But the Predators dug deep and fought hard to get it done, and now have a favorable eight-point cushion over their divisional rival in the playoff race.

Nashville Predators Overcome Slow Start, Finish Strong to Earn the Victory

Despite the Predators winning by a decisive three goals in this game, it was not a clear cut outplaying of the Blues. And during the first period, it was the Blues clearly outplaying the Predators.

The Predators got a goal from Roman Josi on a two-on-one 31 seconds into the game, but other than that, the Blues dictated play in that first 20 minutes. If it were not for that one play and Juuse Saros standing on his head, they might have been down several goals with how badly they got worked early on.

It was just a sloppy start, as the passes were aimless, there were turnovers everywhere in the defensive zone, and the Predators did a poor job protecting the slot and net front areas. They gave up a whopping 20 shots in the first period, and did not exactly give Saros a rest at any point in the game, giving up 47 shots in total.

There were a number of times where he had to make a ridiculous save to prevent a goal against, and he did keep the team afloat for a chunk of the contest. Despite that, the Predators upped their play little by little throughout the night, and even through the close calls, kept battling and selling out to preserve the lead and ultimately the win.

They also capitalized on the opportunities they got, and no matter what, were not going to finish on the wrong side of a game that was so critical for their playoff chances and own morale. They stayed calm and focused despite the immense pressure on them, and Andrew Brunette credited his guys for their composure even though they did not play their best hockey.

It cannot be overlooked how much of a challenge this game was always going to be for the Predators, the Blues were coming in with momentum and urgency given their playoff situation. The Predators were not going to get anything easy, but just had to find a way to get two points when the stakes were playoff level.

If this was a team that was actually on the precipice of a collapse, they would have gotten rattled after the first period and lost this game. But that did not happen, they kept their heads straight, and they deserve praise for locking in on the objective and pulling it off.

Nashville Predators Flip the Script, Win Special Teams Battle

The consensus on the Predaors' loss to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday was that even though they played well, their special teams were terrible. In particular, their powerplay was atrocious and could hardly get set up, let alone score goals.

It was a whole different story against the Blues, as the Predators were near perfect on special teams. They were 2/3 on the man advantage and 5/6 on the penalty kill, and it was not just the numbers being in their favor, it was how they achieved them.

On the first powerplay goal, Gustav Nyquist had a great seam pass to Filip Forsberg, and he finished it after the Predators had legitimate possession in the opposing zone. They again had the puck for a long stretch before the second powerplay goal, as they crashed the net during a scramble and Anthony Beauvillier ended up with his first in gold.

The Predators knew the powerplay cost them a few nights ago, and responded with some quality and clutch plays in this one. But the penalty kill was even better.

They played purely unselfish hockey with the man down and sacrificed their bodies to keep pucks from getting to Saros. They were blocking shots, hounding down pucks in the tough areas, and playing truly determined hockey to make sure that penalties did not cost them the game.

They did give up one powerplay goal late, but few penalty killing units are perfect when they have to use as much energy as the Predators' guys did last night. And while they did take too many penalties in this game, the killers bailed them out, and they deserve a huge shoutout for their contributions.

You could very well point to special teams as the biggest difference in this game, and a few nights ago, the Predators come out on the losing end. Great work by the team to turn it around and take advantge of their chances this time around, and it further speaks to their resolve in such a pivotal situation.