Last night the Predators tamed the Minnesota Wild (a team that has been nothing but “mild” this season) with a 5-0 win. What makes this win even sweeter is that the Wild’s owner is Craig Leopold, former owner of the Nashville Predator. The Predators have now won 4 straight games and are in a tie with the LA Kings for the 6th spot on the west. Color me shocked. Because I am.
When the Predator’s blew the game in San Jose almost a week ago, I thought we could’ve put a fork in them, but sure enough they have battled back and won 4 straight games, including grinding victories against the Kings and the Philidelphia Flyers… and the “Officials.” (Oooops typo there).
So what has been going right for the Predators as of late? Here I’ll tell you.
1. Colin “Freakin” Wilson
The Predators’ top prospect has been nothing short of Bruce Lee on the kick ass scale since the Olympic Break. He has 5 goals and 3 assists in ten games, with two of those goals being game winners. Not only does he have the vision, but he has the finishing ability that the Predators desperately needed up front. Why Colin wasn’t called up sooner is truly beyond me, but I am glad he is up here now!
2. Line combinations that work.
The Arnott, Wilson, and Erat line has been absolutely stellar. They not only create scoring chances, but finish them as well. Arnott has been on fire since he was moved to the Erat and Wilson line, assisting 4 goals and tallying 1 of his own. Pretty nice work Cap’n.
The Hornqvist, Sullivan, Goc line has also been producing and is defensively responsible. Hornqvist continues to be the “Swedish Super Viking” with his ability to crash the net. If you saw his goal from last night’s game, Hornqvist picked up a rebound and put it in faster than anyone I have ever seen. Marcel Goc continues to have a stand out year, putting up 12 goals and adding 13 assists.
The Legwand, Ward, Smithson line continues to be the predator’s lead shutdown line, but chips in a goal from time to time.
The Dumont, Boyd, Tootoo line has been a pleasant surprise these past few games. Some nights, this line plays like a top line with just how many chances they create. Great energy from Boyd and Tootoo, while JP feeds the Tootoo cannon.
These lines work, and I sincerely hope Trotz doesn’t change anything with them.
3. An actual power play!
I don’t have the stats in front of me, but I think the Predators actually have a power play! Something that we haven’t seen since the 06-07 season. The Predators haven’t been great this year (ok, 16th) but in the past few games the “flower play” has been blossoming into a real efficient unit. They are keeping the puck in the offense zone for long periods of time and shooting from everywhere… and at anytime. The surprise nature of the power play makes the opponents PKers work so much harder. Good work on the special teams boys.
4. Pekka Rinnnnneeee
Has been on fire. While I don’t take back what I said about Ellis being the better of the two a few weeks ago, I want to extend an apology to Peks about him losing his confidence. He has found his swagger ever since shutting out the Duckies. Rinne now has two shutouts in his past four starts. That is pretty good save percentage. If Rinne can stay hot, the Predators should ride him from now till the end of the season and beyond.
5. Incredible fan support. These past few games have nearly sold out every night and the crowd has been into it. The Predators have to continue their winning ways in the Bridgeston Arena. They have some hard games against Detroit and LA in the Stone and the crowd has to feed the players as much energy as they can.
6. The first step to the playoffs… happens tomorrow night as the Predators face off against Columbus. This is a must win against an inferior opponent. Puck drops at 7pm central. Let’s get it on!
About the Author
Written by Chris Rydburg
Chris currently attends my Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He hopes to one day be a high school teacher.