A Predators look back: The youth prevails
NHLHS Predators correspondent Tyler Davis takes a look at the past week for the Predators and their key to winning.
In what was an important stretch for the Nashville Predators, last week proved to be just what this team needed. They picked up six points in a very tight Western Conference playoff race.
After a tough 4-2 loss on Tuesday night to the visiting Los Angeles Kings, the Predators bounced back on St. Patrick’s Day when they faced the Boston Bruins for the only time this year. The Bruins put up a good fight, attacking first late in the first period, but with the luck of the Irish, the Predators pulled out a 4-3 victory in overtime.
Up next for Nashville was a weekend full of crucial games. Saturday, the Predators faced the Detroit Red Wings for the second time on home ice this season. These two teams always play a physical game and this time did not disappoint. However, Nashville had the momentum from Thursday night on their side and, with that, cruised to a 3-1 victory over Detroit. It was the young players starring for the team — forward Blake Geoffrion and defenseman Jonathan Blum — that helped carry the team to victory, with an insurance empty net goal by David Legwand to secure the win.
Next up was the Buffalo Sabres Sunday afternoon at the HSBC Arena. Nashville jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by Geoffrion in the first period. The Predators looked like they would be able to take this game as well. But in the second period, Buffalo had other plans. The Sabres posted three goals on Nashville during the second period, two of them coming 42 seconds apart.
The third period was fast and physical, and looked like the Sabres would pull out a win. Geoffrion, however, had other plans. With 2:30 left to play in regulation, he poked in a loose puck right in front of the net for his second goal of the night, and pulled the Predators to within one. Then, a minute later, Geoffrion won a key faceoff in Nashville’s offensive zone, and immediately went to the front of the net where he redirected a shot by Cody Franson that bounced through Ryan Miller’s legs to tie the game and give the fourth generation NHLer his first career hat trick in only the 11th game of his NHL career.
Geoffrion’s goal sent the game into overtime, where finally another Predator decided to tally a goal on the night. Martin Erat deposited a one timer into a wide open net only 27 seconds into the OT period to beat the Sabres 4-3.
The Nashville Predators have found a way to win, and that way includes their lucky number: three. On the season, when the Predators score three or more goals, they are 35-4-1. When scoring two or fewer, the story is quite the opposite with a record of 3-24-5.
The Predators currently sit in seventh place in the Western Conference, and face the Edmonton Oilers tonight. On the season, Edmonton has seemed to have Nashville’s number leading the series 2-1. With the playoff race so tight, and few games remaining, tonight is a crucial game for Nashville. They have to find a way to even the series with the Oilers and put distance between the teams chasing them.
Tyler DavisNHLHS Nashville Predators Correspondent