General Manager David Poile elected to keep the band together, and the Predators produced once more on Tuesday night.
Viktor Arvidsson tallied twice, and Tanner Jeannot added his first-career goal, as Nashville triumphed over the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7-2, at Bridgestone Arena. The result gives the Preds a victory in their eighth and final meeting of the regular season with the Bolts and 49 points to keep the fourth spot in the Central Division.
Thanks to a belief in his team, Nashville's GM elected not to deal away any of his NHL players before Monday's NHL Trade Deadline, and one night later, Poile's club won their 13th game in their last 16 tries. The lopsided victory provides yet another example of why the confidence around the Preds continues to be at its highest point in 2021.
Video: Josi, Arvidsson and Jeannot talk Preds' 7-2 win
"It's a good team we were playing, so I think we did a really great job," Arvidsson said. "We were effective in the first period and kind of slow in the second, but we got going again in the third and then played well in the third and kept them from out of our net. It was good, and we were effective."
Video: Coach Hynes likes Preds' quick start in 7-2 win
"I liked the way that we were ready to play today," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. "You could tell in the morning the guys were excited, they had energy… and we talked about getting past the Dallas game and knowing that we're playing a really good opponent in Tampa. It's important for us to continue to move forward and not be satisfied with a win against Dallas, and that's what I liked the most is just we've been able to put things away and be ready for the next game."
Video: TBL@NSH: Sissons wires home wrister for opening goal
The opening period belonged to Nashville, and the Preds had a 3-0 advantage after the first 20 minutes courtesy of goals from Colton Sissons, Roman Josi and Arvidsson. Sissons started the scoring when he sniped a shot past Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney, and Josi did the same fewer than two minutes later.
Video: TBL@NSH: Arvidsson buries one-timer past McElhinney
Ryan Johansen delivered a perfect saucer pass to Arvidsson, who one-timed his ninth of the season into the twine, and after Tampa Bay converted on a power play early in the second, Rocco Grimaldi restored the three-goal lead when he jammed home a loose puck to give the Preds a 4-1 advantage through two periods.
Video: TBL@NSH: Arvidsson scores breakaway goal
Arvidsson's second of the night came on a breakaway in the final frame, and after Tampa Bay got their second marker, Jeannot potted a rebound to collect his first NHL goal in just his third game, a moment the Oxbow, Saskatchewan, native has dreamed of for a long time.
Video: TBL@NSH: Jeannot scores his first NHL goal
"It's awesome to get that first one," Jeannot, who led the Preds with five hits, said. "It's something I'm going to remember for the rest of my life, for sure, but more importantly, we got the win tonight against a really good team. I thought it was a really good team effort all the way around."
Mikael Granlund recorded the seventh and final tally of the evening to give the Predators a convincing win over the defending Stanley Cup Champions and yet another satisfying outing to give them some separation for that final playoff spot in the Central.
"When you win, it's a lot more fun," Josi said. "I think confidence, a lot of times it's earned through hard work. You've got to put in the work, and that's when you get the bounces and that's when the confidence gets bigger and bigger and I thought we did that in the last little while here. I think our work ethic is the biggest part, and that's how we're getting bounces, that's how we gain confidence."
The Predators will take that belief to Carolina for a two-game set against the Hurricanes, the only team in the division Nashville has failed to defeat this season. With just 12 games to go on the schedule, the Preds need to continue to collect as many points as possible, and four more are available in Raleigh.
"It's important this time of year that you don't get too high and you don't get too low, Hynes said. "It's nice the fact that we were able to score the way that we scored tonight, but I think the big thing is just let's stay with it, let's not get too concerned about winning a game, losing a game; regardless of the score, I think you have to have more of a playoff mentality at this point in the season… We have a big series against Carolina coming up, and let's make some improvements and try to be better. I think it's important also to have a short memory whether you win or lose the games. You've got to have a short memory, and you've got to re-rack and be ready for the next one."
Video: Arvidsson's two goals propel Predators to 7-2 win
Preds forward Rem Pitlick assisted on Colton Sissons's goal to record his first NHL point in his ninth-career game. He finished the night with two assists.
Predators defenseman Erik Gudbranson, who was acquired via trade from Ottawa on Monday, did not play Tuesday, with Nashville GM David Poile stating Gudbranson would need to work through immigration and quarantine before joining the team.
With a three-game homestand complete, the Predators will now head to Carolina for a two-game set with the Hurricanes on Thursday and Saturday in Raleigh. Both games are at 6 p.m. CT with coverage on Bally Sports South and 102.5 The Game.