Predators Limp into the Playoffs


The roller coaster season in Tennessee continues! It wasn’t pretty, but on the back of Connor McDavid, he was able to carry the Crosby-less Predators into the post season. McDavid’s 100 pts in 80 games was enough to will the Predators into their 3rd consecutive playoff appearance. In the final weeks of the season, only one team threatened the Predators to take the 8th seed, and that was the Anaheim Ducks. A handful of points behind 7th seed Minnesota and a handful of points ahead of 9th seed Anaheim, GM Eric Wolf and the Predators thought they were a lock to finish 8th.


But then… Anaheim started winning. The Ducks, blessed with a breezy schedule down the final 2-week stretch, where 6 of their final 8 games were against non-playoff teams. All 6 non-playoff teams they faced were in the bottom 7 of the overall standings. Taking full advantage, the Ducks steamrolled to a 7 game win streak where they met the fluttering Predators, who struggled to find wins in the final weeks of the season. Everything seemed fitting for the type of year the Predators had, that they would see themselves fall out of playoff spot on the last day of the season… but thankfully the Ducks met the Kings in game 82 of the season where the Kings took care of business and slapped the Ducks 6-1 to put Anaheim’s 7 game win streak in vain. However, it may have not been needed (despite providing the Predators GM a huge sigh of relief) as the Predators took their fate into their own hands and beat Chicago in their final game, which is generally an automatic win for them.


Alas, the Predators clinched! Their reward? Another meeting with the Dalla—wait a minute, no. All the while the Ducks were surging, the Minnesota Wild were not having much of a wild finish to their season. Minnesota, dropping 4 of their last 5 games was just enough for Nashville to clinch 7th and have a meeting with the Arizona Coyotes instead.


Arizona. A team Nashville has never faced in the playoffs, in fact, dating back to the inaugural season of the EHE, Nashville has only ever played teams from their own division in the playoffs. Dallas x2, Minnesota x2, Winnipeg x1, Chicago x1 (automatic win). Playing a team outside of the central is a welcome change to the Predators and GM Eric Wolf, but he knows that Arizona is no easy opponent. “We still have a big task ahead of us, Arizona won the pacific for a good reason.” Wolf said. At any rate, it’s believed Nashville is happy to avoid the Dallas Stars, a team whom eliminated Nashville in 7 games in the last two playoffs. A meeting with them will likely be inevitable if both teams advance past round 1, but still – the Crosby-less Predators have the Coyotes to worry about first. “Crosby is currently week to week… team doctors say he could be healthy enough to return by Game 5 or Game 6… but we have to get there first. Hopefully we can win one or two with his absence, because everyone knows our chances are quite slim to move on with without him. But we trust the players we have with our current line-up to get the job done.”

The Predators face off against the Coyotes for Game 1 on Wednesday, June 16. Can the Predators steal a win or two before Crosby returns? We are about to find out. Let's go!