The Nashville Predators drop four in a row! I know. Roughest stretch all year.
Whether you’re a player, a fan or the coach; you can’t turn a blind eye on a patch like this. Before this run of losses to the Wild, Red Wings, Rangers and Devils, the club had only ever lost two in a row, at most.
However, before anyone sounds the alarm,
there may be an upside in all this after all. Assuming Pekka Rinne
and Co. stabilize in the near term and the damage is nominal, this skid may be a welcome development.
Oh yeah, how’s that?
The 2014-15 season has been a blissful run to this point. Not that things have come easy, but this group has earned its way to top spot. The fact that the Predators sit atop the NHL standings three quarters of the way through the 2014-15 season - that grew out of a perfect storm. For the club to be ranked where it was at the 60-game mark, everything needed to go right. And it has.
Rinne has been remarkable – even for Rinne. The brightest young defense corps in the League has grown its game by 20 percent on both sides of the puck. And Mike Ribeiro, James Neal and Filip Forsberg have combined to form one of the most dynamic lines in the entire NHL.
That being said, the one thing that may be lacking as you look to the postseason is experience. With the exception of Matt Cullen (with Carolina in 2006 and 2009) and Neal (with Pittsburgh in 2013), the current Preds lack the collective experience of what it takes to go on a deep run in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A common thread amongst the teams that typically go deep is that there’s an solid inner core of players that have learned how to navigate that path. These players help point the way.
What’s the point, Stuart?
Where the current Predators are concerned, there’s certainly no way to inject any meaningful experience into the room now. But, imagine if, at this late date, that the Preds are able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps and revisit the sort of hockey they were playing earlier in the year. A lesson like that may just provide the sort of steely reserve this group requires to make some noise in the postseason.
Trust me, as a player, nothing brings you together like being able to rally back when the rest of the (hockey) world was counting you out. For this version of the Nashville Predators, it might be just the thing.
Having said all that, feel free to rip off a little five-game run anytime, fellas!