The Nashville Predators raised questions early on in the season due to their slow start and below average winning record, especially for a team many saw as being top contenders in the Western Conference going into this year. However, the Preds look like they could be back to full form and ready to put themselves in a playoff position through the strong play we’ve been seeing recently. While there’s still more the team would like to improve on as the season continues to roll along, Nashville has been showing their will to compete and are making teams take notice in the skill within the dressing room.
Three Game Win Streak
The Predators are 3-0-0 in their last three contests, and 3-0-2 in their last five. Nashville was able to defeat the Ottawa Senators, St. Louis Blues, and Anaheim Ducks last week to earn a three game win-streak, teams that as of right now all hold a playoff spot. The Preds were able to score 11 goals in those three games, all while allowing just two goals,
The Preds were able to score 11 goals in those three games while allowing just two goals, including a 5-0 shutout victory over the Ducks on Saturday. Forward James Neal had two goals in the win and has been finding his offensive touch of late, something the Preds desperately need.
The goals are starting to come for a Nashville team that has struggled to score early on, and the defense is only improving on the strong play they’ve been bringing to the ice nearly every night since the start of the year. Nashville has managed to score just 39 goals this season, although they’ve allowed just 37 goals on the year thanks to the strong play of the defense and being backstopped by netminder Pekka Rinne. These three games have been a strong indication of things to come for Nashville. It’s just a matter of scoring more goals to match the strong defensive play and generating more wins as a result.
It would be criminal to praise the Nashville blueline for their strong play without giving full recognition to their netminder and backbone Pekka Rinne. Rinne has been phenomenal for the Preds of late, and to be fair, his start earlier in the season wasn’t bad, though his win record states otherwise.
Rinne’s record is just 5-4-3 to date, but he owns a goals-against average (GAA) of just 2.13, and a remarkable .930 save percentage to match it, numbers that could put him in Vezina-candidate talks should he continue this strong play towards the end of the season.
Rinne has come up clutch for the Preds early on and is showing no signs of slowing down, especially coming off a 27-save shutout win over the Ducks this past weekend. Nashville will be leaning on Rinne as the season progresses, and he looks to be up for the challenge.
Nashville has 15 points just 14 games into the season with a record of 6-5-3, a record they’ll be looking to improve on over the next couple of months in order to establish themselves among playoff contending teams. They have the skill and they have the heart, it’s time to start pulling all the pieces together and go for gold in Music City. The Predators could finally be done being the prey, it’s up to them to prove it.
4th year Sport Management student at Brock University.