3 Predators Who Stepped Up After the “Break”

A water main break is never a good thing. However, the Nashville Predators have won three straight games after a water main break forced the cancelation of two games, giving them an unexpected six-day break. After two overtime wins against the Anaheim Ducks and New Jersey Devils (Nov. 29 and Dec. 1), the Preds defeated the New York Islanders on Friday night (Dec. 2).

There will probably be a few candidates for team MVP at the end of the season, but also in that conversation should be all of the men and women who worked so diligently to repair the water main break that happened on Nov. 25 and flooded the arena’s main concourse and event levels.

Hundreds of people, including Metro Nashville workers and Bridgestone Arena staff worked around the clock to clean up the mess while giving up their time on Thanksgiving weekend to allow the arena to be repaired enough to host the Ducks on Nov. 29. A remarkable feat as it could have been easily closed down for a couple of months. “We’re probably going to remediate from this for the next 3, 4, 5, 6 months. Every single electrical system. Every piece of video will either be replaced or taken apart to be dried out or cleaned out, but we don’t know the full extent of the financial damage, but it’s extensive” said Predators CEO Sean Henry.

In addition to the Bridgestone Arena crew stepping up their game to repair the water damage, three players have also stepped up their play for the Predators.

The Goaltenders

We will include Juuse Saros and Kevin Lankinen as one entity, as both have played very well as of late. After the overtime win in New Jersey, Saros is 6-0-1 with a 2.22 goals-against average (GAA) and a .930 save percentage (SV%) in his last seven games dating back to Nov. 12. He also owns a 6.03 goals saved above average (GSAA) since Nov. 12, the second-best mark in the league.

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Lankinen made a career-high 48 saves in the 4-1 win over the Islanders, drawing praise from his teammates, including Filip Forsberg. “He was unbelievable for us, especially in the third, but even through the whole game. I don’t know how many saves he had in the third, but it was probably 20, almost just in the third period. I mean, we have the two best goalies in the League.”

Roman Josi

The Predators captain has 19 points in his last 16 games and also scored his seventh career overtime goal against the Ducks, tying him with Shea Weber for the third-most in franchise history. Of course, he does more than just tally points for the team. In the win against the Islanders, he also blocked four shots along with his goal and an assist. For the season, he’s up to six goals, 14 helpers, ten power-play points, 99 shots on net, and 58 blocked shots.

Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Recently, Josi has really made his presence felt in the offensive zone for the Predators. The Swiss-born defenseman is now just four points from tying David Legwand for the most points (566) in team history. He also continues to make his presence known off the ice, as he sent a heartfelt message to Predators fans in the wake of the water break. “I just wanted to say thank you to all the workers for working hard every day at the arena,” Josi said. “To all the fans – thank you for your patience. We can’t wait to be back.”

Matt Duchene

“Dutchy” has done very well recently, tallying six points during the team’s three-game winning streak. In Friday’s win over the Islanders, he grabbed a pair of power-play assists and scored his sixth goal of the season on an empty-netter. He has moved to six goals and 15 assists for the year with 23 games played. Duchene has been one of the main catalysts in helping the Predators break out of their slump.

Matt Duchene Nashville Predators
Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The empty netter was the 300th career goal for the 31-year-old, drawing widespread praise from his teammates, including Forsberg. “It’s just one of those things that you obviously have to be a really good player first of all to be in the League for long enough to do that. And he’s been awesome for us since he got here and I’m very happy for him.”

Related: 3 Trade Destinations for Predators’ Dante Fabbro

After a natural break in the schedule, the Predators return to the ice on Thursday, Dec. 8, to take on the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Also, the NHL recently announced the makeup games caused by the water main break. The Columbus Blue Jackets contest, originally scheduled for Nov. 26, is now scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, at 7 p.m. CT. The Colorado Avalanche game, originally scheduled for Nov. 25, is now scheduled for Friday, April 14, 2023, at 7 p.m. CT.

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