Three Things that Have Changed For Nashville Predators During Three Game Streak

It's modest, but the Predators have strung together three wins in a row over teams currently in a Western Conference playoff spot. What is fueling this shift back to a positive direction?

Feb 22, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA;  Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) celebrates
Feb 22, 2024; Los Angeles, California, USA; Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) celebrates / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After an absolute beatdown at the hands of the Dallas Stars, the Nashville Predators have proceeded to win three games in a row against teams all currently in a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The latest win for the Predators comes against the Los Angeles Kings, their second win against the Kings this season which pulls them into a tie with the St. Louis Blues with 62 points. The Blues have the tiebreaker with one game in hand.

Even more impressive for the Predators, this road win over the Kings pushes their record away from home to 16-10-2, while their record at Bridgestone Arena is below .500 at 14-15-0. Only six teams have more road wins than the Predators.

In the Thursday night win over the Kings, the depth once again showed up to fill the scoring load. Goals from Yakov Trenin and Mark Jankowski put the Predators ahead each time, and then two empty net goals added to the total from Colton Sissons and Jeremy Lauzon.

So what's changed in the last three games that's got the Predators back on the winning track just in time for the trade deadline to approach? I've got three things I've noticed.

Better Starts to Games

Seems simple right? Just come out of the gate with energy wise decision-making and you should be fine to keep the score close in theory. When the Predators got ran out of their home building just a week ago to a 9-2 final score, they let Dallas score just 35 seconds into the game and score four first-period goal altogether.

The game was virtually over before the first period ended. In the last three wins, the Predators have been first to score and scored all of those goals before reaching the 10-minute mark of the first period.

The Predators have received the message loud and clear that they have to play with more effort and energy right off the rip. This team's margin for error isn't one that can come from behind very easily. They need fast starts so that they can settle into their game and play more disciplined.

Also, the Predators haven't been confused as being a team that protects leads in trustworthy fashion. They've lost four times in regulation when leading after the second period, which puts all the more emphasis and starting games strong so that they have some cushion heading into the final frame when teams make their comebacks.

I've really liked how the Predators have opened up their last three games, all wins against St. Louis, Vegas and Los Angeles. Three quality opponents.

They're Actually Protecting their Goaltenders

Particularly against Los Angeles on Thursday, the Predators have been much better in their defensive structure as of late. They're making it easier for their goaltender to see the puck and manage less dangerous scoring chances.

In the win over the Kings, the Predators blocked 18 shots and held the Kings to a 2.28 Expected Goals. That's making life much easier for Juuse Saros, who we know is grinding through his worst season as an NHL player.

In the previous game against the Golden Knights, the Predators took advantage of a tired opponent coming off a back-to-back and made them work hard for everything they got. Nothing came easy, holding Vegas to only 26 shots on goal and only surrendering three giveaways to avoid putting Kevin Lankinen in a precarious position to make a save.


Saros and Lankinen both are viable goalies when they get better defensive protection. The Predators, at least in the last three games, have tightened up their defensive play with the exception of a few gaffes here and there, which are going to happen.

The downside to this, is the Predators still have a lot of ground to make up in the defensive department. They give up 3.21 goals per game, which is in the bottom half of the NHL and among many teams that are destined to miss the postseason this year. Furthermore, the penalty kill has given up a power play goal in all three of these wins, with one being a 5-on-3 goal that the Kings were able strike on.

Better defensive positioning will hopefully lead to less penalties you're forced into and fewer odd man rushes given up, which should allow Saros and Lankinen both to do the rest.

Depth Scoring is Coming Alive

An issue for the Predators for most of the season has been secondary scoring. For a while all of the scoring pressure was put on Nashville's top line which hasn't been broken up 50 some odd games now.

Colton Sissons scored the opening goal against the Blues, Luke Evangelista got the Predators on the board first against the Golden Knights, and Yakov Trenin struck first against the Kings. Meanwhile, Filip Forsberg and Ryan O'Reilly haven't had to carry too much of the scoring load over these past three games.

Now of course you want your top line to eat and put up a lot of offense, but it's been refreshing to see other guys step up and show they can provide offense when needed. You'll need that if the Predators do end up making the playoffs. Winning seven-game series can't be all on your top line.

Heck, even Luke Schenn scored his first goal with the Predators and Mark Jankowski got one against the Kings while getting in the dirty areas at the net front. Cody Glass also got his redemption goal against Vegas for just his second goal of the season.

Offense is coming from a lot of different places lately, and you love to see it. The Predators next have the Sharks, Senators and Ducks. Two of the three are in last place in their divisions, with the Ducks being just ahead of the Sharks in the Pacific Division.

I'll never call it a favorable matchup for the Predators, but at least on paper and with how the Predators have cleaned some things up as of late, this should be a golden opportunity to stretch out this winning streak and make things interesting heading into the March 8 trade deadline.

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