The Predators Are Making History on Their Way to the Postseason

Roman Josi continues to anchor the Predator Blue Line Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

As the 2023-24 NHL regular season winds down, what a difference a month makes in the future of the Nashville Predators. Pundits and fans alike had essentially given up on Nashville before the All-Star break in early February as the Predators looked to be on the verge of extinction like the saber-toothed tiger in the team logo. On the way to another disappointing season, something seemingly clicked, and with new head coach Andrew Brunette installing a new offensive scheme, the Predators climbed out of the hockey ICU, and life was restored to this franchise.

What exactly has gotten into the Nashville Predators since the All-Star break? In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, the Preds are hunting like Ice Age killers and are currently on an 18-game point streak with a 16-0-2 record in the last 18 games. This also includes 8-0-2 in the last ten games and a current six-game winning streak. NHL teams are notorious for going on both hot and cold streaks; the Nashville Predators are on a historic run for this franchise and have re-wrote the script already for the Central Division and maybe the entire Western Conference for the upcoming Stanley Cup playoffs. Gone are the days of hoping to make the postseason; the Predators are leading the way as the top wild-card seed in the West and could even break the top three in the Central Division before all is said and done in the next few weeks.

Defense Wins Championships.

We’ve always heard the old sports manta that “defense wins championships,” but the Nashville Predators are living this mantra out in their recent hot streak. The Preds’ blue lines have stepped up and led by Roman Josi, Nashville has a tough, grind-you-out style of defense that just punishes opponents in just about any way you can think. There’s physical hockey, and then there’s the Nashville Predators’ style of hockey this season, and with a 16-0-2 record since the All-Star break, who’s to argue that the Preds are one of the toughest teams on the ice? Despite injuries to other blue liners, including Jeremy Lauzon, Dante Fabbro, Alex Carrier, and Spencer Stastney, Roman Josi has stood his ground in the defensive zone and carried this team’s D night after night. With Lauzon finally back in the lineup and Fabbro able to start skating again, help is on the way – just in time for the Nashville defense to dominate in the postseason.

A Solid Offense Certainly Doesn’t Hurt the Predators.

While defense may win championships, you have to win games to get to the Stanley Cup finals, and the Nashville Predators are certainly doing that. With one of the most dominating first lines in the NHL, made up of Filip Forsberg, Ryan O’Reilly, and Gustav Nyquist, the Preds’ top line is now second in the league in expected goals. Forsberg now has his second 40-goal season in his career (40 goals, 41 assists), and combined with Nyquist ( 20 goals, 45 assists) and O’Reilly (25 goals, 36 assists), Nashville simply has been making opponent nets leak like sieves since the All-Star break. Even more telling of the newfound offensive prowess under Andrew Brunette’s offensive scheme is the fact that in the first 54 games of the season, the Preds averaged 2.96 goals per game, while in the last 18 games, that margin has skyrocketed off the charts to 4.11 goals per game. It’s true that defenses ultimately help win championships, but nobody is complaining when a stellar offensive zone attack is burning out the red goal lamps, and if Nashville can keep this O zone onslaught up, they will be one of the true teams to watch in the Stanley Cup playoffs starting next month.

Mike Gambill

I'm a retired high school teacher and former coach who enjoys sports writing as a way of expressing my continued passion for the game. I try to bring a bit of a technical side to my articles, as well as keeping a bit of sarcastic humor alive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Flyers’ Playoff Hopes Stay Alive After Defeating Rangers 4-1 | 4/11/2024

If you were looking for the Flyers to show a pulse, you got that tonight. Less than five minutes in, Cam York scored on the counter rush. Flyers fans could finally breathe a sigh of relief. It was clear immediately: they brought their A-game. Two things stuck out to me as I watched the game […]

Read More

Devils Defeat Maple Leafs 6-5, Matthews Scores 68th | 4/11/2024

Jesper Bratt scored the go-ahead goal for New Jersey to secure a 6-5 victory on Thursday, April 11th at the Scotiabank Arena. The Devils had already been eliminated from playoff contention last game, which was on Tuesday at home that had also been against the Maple Leafs. Auston Matthews scored both his 67th and 68th […]

Read More

Denver Wins in Thrilling Frozen Four Opener Against Boston University

It’s a thrilling time of year in collegiate hockey as the nation’s top teams gear up for the Frozen Four. Denver University and Boston University kicked off the tournament with a bang. With a collective 51 draft picks between the four competing teams, anticipation was high as standout players like Lane Hutson, Macklin Celebrini, and […]

Read More