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Ebbing and Flowing: Preds Responding to Adversity as Second Half Begins

With Points In Five Straight, Nashville Finding Ways to Win Once More

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

Ah, yes, the ebbs and flows.

After starting out with a perfect road record to begin the 2018-19 season - eight victories to be exact, one of the best marks the NHL had ever seen - something went wrong.

On Nov. 10 in Dallas, the Nashville Predators won 4-3, in overtime, a result that had become commonplace for the club away from the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena.

But then, there was a shootout loss in Anaheim. Defeats in San Jose and Arizona soon followed. And all of a sudden, the Preds found themselves in Washington D.C., on New Year's Eve to face the defending Stanley Cup champions, having dropped 10 straight on the road.

They were down 3-1 in the second period of that game too. But within about an hour's time, they had scored five unanswered. The streak was over. All acquaintance was forgot. They could win on the road again.

As the clock struck midnight, and then the puck dropped on New Year's Day in Nashville, a 4-0 shutout came over Philadelphia, two triumphs in as many outings.

Then, a six-game excursion, the longest of the season, arrived. It began in Detroit, the Predators carrying their regained road confidence into Motor City on Friday night. But, for whatever reason, they didn't have it.

Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette called his team soft after the fact, and there was little time to fix it with a date in Montréal the very next evening. All the group did was respond with a 4-1 win at the Bell Centre. Then, on Monday night in Toronto against the high-flying Maple Leafs, the Preds got four goals again - and didn't allow a single strike into their cage.

As Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm said following the contest in Montreal, good teams, when challenged, find a way to respond. The Preds undoubtedly consider themselves to be in the upper echelon of the National Hockey League, and they've proven just that over the past few nights.

And go back to that win in Washington - a showing that snapped the aforementioned road woes, but also a six-game skid overall. Having the moms along probably didn't hurt matters, but it's worth remembering that contest on the last day of 2018 for future reference.

Was it one of those so-called turning points that every team seems to have during the course of a season - good or bad? Perhaps.

Every game is different, of course, and Laviolette has stated over the years that he's not a big believer in momentum. However, something has felt different around this team as of late, and that's a positive if there ever was one.

They're getting healthy, for one. Viktor Arvidsson is back. Colton Sissons is too. Filip Forsberg returned in Toronto and looked as if he had never missed a minute of action.

But, more importantly, the Predators are once again showing signs of the type of team they can be, the type of team they want to be, the type of team they believe they should be.

As P.K. Subban said after the win against the Maple Leafs, the past two outings have had the classic trademarks of Preds hockey - timely scoring, sound defending and all-world goaltending.

Don't look now, but the regular season is more than halfway through. Sure, there is still plenty of hockey to be played before visions of springtime hockey will dance in the Predators' heads.

But a little adversity along that journey can be a good thing. All that matters is how one responds to it. And if the guys in that locker room have anything to do with it, there will be much more flowing than ebbing in the second half.

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