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Smashville Scope: February 17

Three In A Row, Hockey Day In America, Timonen In the IIHF Hall of Fame and More In This Week's Smashville Scope

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Senior Communications & Content Coordinator

It's easy as one, two, three. Well, maybe not in hockey.

But this Nashville Predators team, a club that's as talented and deep on paper as just about any other in the League, never would have imagined that a three-game winning streak in the opening month of the season would be their last for a while.

In fact, you have to go back to Oct. 26, to be exact, to find the only occasion this season the Preds had rattled off three-straight. Actually, they made it four wins in a row just a few days later, but the roller coaster ride that has been the 2019-20 season really reared up shortly thereafter.

Over the course of the next three-plus months, the Predators were victorious in two-straight games on seven occasions, but they could never find that elusive three-game winning streak that seems to do so much more for the psyche than just a pair of victories.

But on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, Craig Smith made the hats fly, and Juuse Saros stopped every shot he saw against the Islanders. Two days later, Mikael Granlund scored the winner on the power play in the third period in St. Louis.

Then Sunday came. Another meeting with the Blues, another chance to find that third in a row.

And with just 2:12 to play in regulation, Kyle Turris found twine.

Dare we say Bridgestone Arena flirted with postseason levels when No. 8 sent the crowd into a frenzy? Perhaps we're not quite there yet, but the atmosphere around Sunday's triumph felt just a little bit different than anything else recently.

Video: Turris, Rinne lead Predators past Blues, 2-1

"I can't believe it has been that long," Smith said of winning three straight once more. "It's unacceptable, so it's something to build off of. We won't get too high; we will continue to get better."

"You don't want to just think that all of the sudden you have it," Turris said. "It's constantly a work in progress. We're coming together, we're getting more comfortable with the systems, we're playing together and just feeling each other out. We're gaining chemistry to move in the right direction."

Turris, who finished the weekend with two goals and two assists in two games against the Blues, was a catalyst for the Predators finding their way back to within a point of a Wild Card spot, with games in hand. As far as Predators Head Coach John Hynes is concerned, the group couldn't have done it without Turris.

"He's earned the ice time that he's gotten, and I think when you earn the ice time that you get and you show the coach that you're smart and you're competitive and you're going to play the game the right way, then you're going to get more ice time," Hynes said of Turris. "I would credit Kyle because he earned that. I didn't give it to him."

One thing is for certain - the Predators earned those wins over the past 96 hours. And while nothing in this League ever comes easy, it's much simpler to find confidence in a three-game winning streak than to go digging for it.

See? Easy as one, two, three.

"October is a long time ago," Rinne said of the previous three-game winning streak. "I feel like we can be honest - it has been a struggle for the most part this year after October. I feel like we had a fairly good start, but after that it has been full of ups and downs. It shows in our game that we play with a lot of passion, just gutsy plays. I feel like we've changed the way we play a game. Obviously [Hynes is a big factor], but it's also the players buying into it, and I think it shows.

"These last three games have really given us confidence. We kind of see the light now."

Hockey Day In America Broadcasts from Smashville:

The Predators finished off their Sunday with a massive win over the Blues, but there was plenty to enjoy before that victory too.

NBC Sports anchored their coverage of Discover presents Hockey Day In America right from the Bridgestone Arena plaza in Nashville, as the network celebrated the game of hockey with a tripleheader of NHL broadcasts that concluded with the Preds and Blues.

NBC's Liam McHugh, Keith Jones, Brian Boucher and Anson Carter brought viewers stories from all over the country to commemorate the day, and there was plenty of love shown for hockey in the Music City.

In case you missed any of the coverage, take a look back at some highlights from Hockey Day In America.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: "It doesn't matter where you're from, it's all one hockey family."The U.S. Pond Hockey Championship is a brilliant display of grassroots hockey, and demonstrates just how important this game is.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: Three Marines who moved to Nashville to fully commit to the sport of sled hockey and each other, have found a love and bond for their service and the game that only keeps getting stronger. #HDIA ������This is the story of Ben Maenza, Joseph Woodke, and John Curtin. 🇺🇸

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: In 2018, Renee Hess created the Black Girl Hockey Club to bring women together, and show the hockey world just how important Black women are to their community. #HDIA #HockeyIsForHerFor more follow OnHerTurf on Instagram.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: A decade after Sawyer and Simon Seidl were adopted from the Congo, the brothers continue to shine as hockey players. #HDIA

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: Last year on #HDIA, we brought you the story of the Capalbo Brothers. Charlie was on his second battle with cancer, and needed a bone marrow transplant. His brother was a match, but success was far from guaranteed. A year later we are thrilled to bring you this update.

Tweet from @NHLonNBCSports: "If we can open the eyes of young girls out there to see that officiating is something they can do...then I think we've kind of done our jobs."Meet the four female officials who have their sights set on breaking the gender barrier in the NHL. #HDIAFull story ������

Timonen Inducted into IIHF Hall Of Fame:

Kimmo Timonen is one of the best defensemen to have ever dressed for the Nashville Predators, and that's saying something.

Now, the former Preds captain has been recognized as one of the best of all time, period.

Timonen is part of the International Ice Hockey Federation's Hall of Fame class of 2020, a well-deserved honor for the blueliner who spent the first eight seasons of his NHL career in Nashville. The Finn played almost 600 games with the Predators and captained the team in 2006-07, a season in which he posted a career-high 42 assists and 55 points.

A four-time NHL All-Star and a 2015 Stanley Cup Champion in his final NHL season, Timonen represented his country at the Winter Olympic Games on five different occasions. He's undoubtedly one of the greatest Finnish players of all time, and Predators goaltender Juuse Saros had Timonen painted on the mask he used for the 2020 NHL Winter Classic as a tribute to his fellow countryman.

Tweet from @IIHFHockey: A major blueline upgrade for the IIHF Hall of Fame, as the Class of 2020 welcomes Finland���s Player Inductee Kimmo Timonen! Just two more inductees left to be announced! Story:

Admirals Update:

The Ads ended a two-game skid with a 4-1 win against Manitoba on Monday afternoon. Eeli Tolvanen, Yakov Trenin, Rem Pitlick and Miikka Salomaki all tallied in the win for Milwaukee's 35th victory of the season.

Daniel Carr continues to lead the club with 19 goals and 42 points, followed by Cole Schneider with 37 points, and then Alex Carrier and Tommy Novak slot third with 33 apiece. Pitlick has 17 goals for the Admirals, Trenin has 16 and Tolvanen is now up to 15 tallies on the season.

The Admirals are 35-11-4-3 with 77 points; that's seven points ahead of the rest of the league.

Tweet from @mkeadmirals: Now that's more like it!We'll head home with ������🏻points.#Admirals50 | #MILvsMAN

Mic'd Up:

This week's mic'd up segment comes not from the ice, but from Nashville International Airport. Ryan Johansen and Mattias Ekholm became Southwest Airlines employees for a day, and as you might imagine, it produced some entertaining results.

Video: Ekholm, Johansen try working at Southwest for a day

Goal of the Week:

Video: NYI@NSH: Smith scores top shelf to finish first hatty

Assist of the Week:

Video: NSH@STL: Arvidsson nets Granlund's set-up short side

Save of the Week:

Video: NYI@NSH: Saros records second career shutout

Quote of the Week:

Pekka Rinne following Sunday's weekend sweep of St. Louis:

"Huge two wins in a row against one of the top teams in the League. It was a gutsy effort tonight. Two timely goals, we played solid defense and just got it done. All in all, you look where we are, I think these last three games have really given us confidence. We kind of see the light now."

Shot of the Week:

…and there's more where that came from.

Predators vs. Islanders Photo Gallery

Predators at Blues Photo Gallery

Predators vs. Blues Photo Gallery

The Week Ahead:

Tuesday vs. Carolina Hurricanes, 7 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Radio: 102.5 The Game

Buy Tickets

Friday at Chicago Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Radio: 102.5 The Game

Saturday vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, 7 p.m. CT

TV: Fox Sports Tennessee; Radio: 102.5 The Game

Buy Tickets

Predators Official Podcast:

Predators General Manager David Poile joins the show to provide insight into how he's evaluating both trade offers and the state of his team, as the trade deadline looms. Brooks Bratten and Thomas Willis explain what the Preds need to accomplish in a pivotal two-week span prior to the deadline. Plus, the Milwaukee Minute returns and fan questions are answered.

Upcoming Bridgestone Arena Events:

Looking for more than just hockey at the home of the Preds? Here's what's coming to Bridgestone Arena.

This Week's Shows:

The Lumineers - Feb. 19. Click here for tickets.

Coming Soon:

Rascal Flatts - Oct. 20, 2020. Tickets on sale Friday at 10 a.m. CT.

Week in Review:

Rinne, Turris Lead Preds to Win Over Blues, Sweep of Home-and-Home Set

Preds Start Home-and-Home with Satisfying Win in St. Louis

Preds Embracing Challenges of Back-to-Back Weekend Against Blues

Preds Johansen, Ekholm Join Southwest Airlines For A Day

Smith Records Hat Trick as Saros, Preds Shut Out Islanders

Nashville Predators to Celebrate Hockey is for Everyone Month in February

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