Here are six reasons why the Preds are back in the postseason:
1. Barry Trotz -- In his 13th season behind the bench, Trotz may have put forth his most masterful job. He didn't allow the contract situations of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to affect a team that lost several key veterans during the offseason. The Predators boast one of the youngest rosters in the League, but Trotz once again has his team in the playoffs. He likely will once again be passed over for the Jack Adams Award, but he deserves some type of recognition for the job he's done in Nashville.
GAA: 2.41 | SVP: 0.922
3. The Preds can score -- Sure, their hallmark remains defense and goaltending, but the Predators are on pace to score their most goals in a season since 2006-07. The Predators rank eighth offensively, and that was before bringing back Alexander Radulov last week. If Martin Erat is healthy down the stretch, he could become the first Predator to eclipse the 60-point barrier since J-P Dumont in 2008-09. No one is mistaking the 2011-12 Predators for the 1980s Edmonton Oilers, but scoring isn't the problem it's been in the past.
4. Shea Weber/Ryan Suter -- It'd be foolish to not give these two All-Star defensemen their own credit for not letting their pending RFA (Weber) and UFA (Suter) status mess with their games. Weber is stringing together an offensive season almost identical to last season's, but his plus-19 is far and away a career best. Suter isn't far off his career-high in points while logging the third most ice-time per game (26:37) in the NHL. Weber (26:19) is fifth in that category and could be in line for a Norris Trophy.
SOG: 201 | +/-: 5
6. Little things add up -- The Preds have trailed after two periods 25 times and have rallied to win seven of those games, the second-best mark in the League. Only one team has missed the net less frequently than the Predators. Nashville ranks fourth in takeaways. The PK is in the middle of the pack, but the Predators have put themselves shorthanded the sixth-fewest times in the NHL. When the Preds score first, they are 31-3-4, the third-best mark in the League. It all comes together to make the Predators a very dangerous team.
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