Nashville Predators General Manager David Poile points to his team’s four-game sweep of Western Canada prior to the 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend as a saving moment of the season. The Preds started January with a 2-5-1 mark, leading to a trade for No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, and the concerted effort to climb back into a playoff spot.
Wins over Winnipeg and Edmonton started the Predators momentum on their final road trip before hosting the All-Star Game, and a 2-1 triumph over Vancouver the night before put Carter Hutton and Nashville in position to claim their first four-game winning streak of the season.
A quick strike from Mike Ribeiro put the visitors up early and Shea Weber’s goal in the middle frame proved to be the game winner. Twenty-six stops from Hutton sealed the win and sent the Predators into the All-Star break on a high note, one that would be picked up quickly on Feb. 12 in Tampa Bay when the club’s franchise-record 15 consecutive games with a point or more began.
"We battled hard. It's been a tough month for us," Weber said. "We're battling our way back into the playoff picture here. The last four games have really helped.
"We talked about finishing off a tough West swing. It's not easy to come out here to beat these teams in their own buildings. Trying to keep our mind on the games, too, is a big thing with the All-Star break. Minds might tend to wander, but I think everybody in here did a good job of staying focused. The games speak for themselves.”
Check back next weekend for Game No. 7 in our countdown!
Foreshadowing his victory in the Hardest Shot Competition later that week, Preds Captain Shea Weber blasted a one-timer past Karri Ramo for the eventual game winner. Recently acquired forward Ryan Johansen began the play by dishing behind his back to Roman Josi, before Weber’s d-partner touched the puck over for the scoring-slapper.
"[It was] a great play by Johansen getting it behind the back to [Josi], and [Josi] just set it right where I needed to hit it," Weber said via NHL.com. "I made a good shot."
Gif of the Game:
Carter Hutton extends the left pad as far as he’s able to deny the Flames’ bid at the equalizer in the final minute of regulation.
"We knew they were going to come at us," Hutton said. "They're too good not to. I thought we did a great job. At the end, we had a couple key blocks and we eliminated second chances. From there, we were able to hang on. It wasn't the prettiest finish, but it was back-to-back and the end of a road trip. It was a huge two points any way we look at it."