After yesterday’s masterful 41 save shutout hung on the Chicago Blackhawks, the Nashville Predators now hold their playoff fate in their own hands as the stretch run gets underway. I really couldn’t see myself writing that phrase as recently as two weeks ago, but winning 9 of 11 will change a team’s fate quickly… especially when all your games are in your division.
I want to take a look at the week ahead, but first let’s do q quick review of yesterday’s win.
After an uninspired start from both teams, Nashville woke up on the strength of a laser blast from Eeli Tolvanen… a power play goal that left a vapor trail behind it and Chicago goaltender Kevin Lainkenin is still looking for where it went in. Tolvanen continues to up his game and has pushed himself into the Calder trophy discussion.
Juuse Saros continues his dominant play between the pipes, his movement is focused, his anticipation is spot-on and he is frustrating all comers right now. Saros is growing into the starter’s role with every passing game, and his confidence is spreading throughout the team.
The Herd Line gets a shoutout as well, Colton SIssons’ penalty shot goal was a thing of beauty and the play that led up to it, springing Sissons for a breakaway was stellar… Luke Kuhnin put the exclamation point on a 3-0 win, posting the Preds 20th win of the season.
So, the week ahead sees a quick trip for two in the Motor City. While the Red Wings are in the basement of the Central, the Predators cannot afford to go to sleep on this team. Detroit took Florida to overtime and skated well with Tampa in their last two games, both losses, but either game could’ve gone the other way. Detroit could also be looking for a little payback from the 7-1 pasting the Preds put on them two weeks ago at LCA.
Nashville then returns home for a key back-to-back starting Saturday night against Tampa, then Sunday against Dallas. A stiff test of this team’s newly found confidence.
The injury situation bears watching. With Alexandre Carrier and Mark Borovetsky going on IR and Viktor Arvidsson being helped off the ice after an awkward collision with Chicago’s Kirby Dach. The “next man up” will be tested again in this next week.
Random Notes – Presented by
- Where We Stand
- A daily playoff update. As play opens today the Predators own 4th place in the Central leading Chicago by 2 points. Nashville leads Dallas and Columbus by 5 points, Dallas still has 4 games in hand. The Preds trail Carolina by 10 points Tampa and Florida by 13 points for higher playoff positioning.
- Viktor Arvidsson’s injury silenced and terrified the Bridgestone Arena crowd last night as he lay on the ice after an accidental collision. It seemed like an eternity, but Arvy was helped off the ice and there hasn’t been much of an update since.
- Some folks were questioning the call that led to the penalty shot, it didn’t look like much, but there was definitely a hook on Sissons which caused him to lose balance and crash into the goaltender.
- COVID List
- As of this morning, there are 14 Vancouver players on the COVID-19 protocol list. The Canucks have had 4 game postponed so far and are scheduled to return to play on April 8… but that date seems in serious jeopardy. Not much help available from their AHL team as the Utica Comets have an outbreak of their own. The Comets have had 10 games postponed due to AHL COVICD-19 protocol. The Canucks also report 3 coaches in the protocol as well.
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