Above all else, the Predators need points in the standings. How they've gotten their last four begs for some extra attention.
Preds goaltender Juuse Saros was perfect in Nashville's home-and-home set against Dallas, blanking the Stars by 2-0 and 1-0 counts on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. It's the first time Saros has posted back-to-back shutouts in his young career, but perhaps we should have seen this coming.
In his last 16 starts, dating back to Jan. 12, Saros is 11-5-0. Over that span, the Finn is tied for first in the League in shutouts (4), tied for second in wins (11) and save percentage (.935) and fifth in goals-against average (2.14).
And how's this for a stat? Saros recorded his 11th career shutout on Saturday at Dallas, the most among any NHL goaltender at least his age (24 years, 326 days) or younger.
His athleticism, quickness and technical skills have all been lauded before, but according to those who witnessed it firsthand, there was an overriding theme in both of these most recent outings as to why the man they call Juice didn't allow a single puck to get past him.
"The big thing I took away from that game in Dallas was how calm he looked in the net," Preds defenseman Jarred Tinordi said of Saros. "I've been fortunate to play with some pretty good goalies, and the way he's been playing lately, he's right up there. Every puck, even with those in traffic, he'd always find it and always eat it up, and he just made it look so smooth and effortless.
"The game is quick, and maybe you think that [a forward] gets by [and gets a shot off] and you're wondering if [Saros] gets it. I turn around and look and he's already got the puck in his glove just waiting on the whistle. It's awesome."
Video: Saros, Preds shut out Stars in second of back-to-back
There aren't many NHL games, particularly of the one-goal variety, that are free of stress. However, what Saros has done recently in the crease does plenty for the rest of the group, and that presence can make a noticable difference.
"It just brings a calmness to the players," Preds Head Coach John Hynes said of Saros's play. "Guys can go out, and they don't feel like if they make a mistake the puck is going to wind up in the back of the net, but they can also do their job. [Saros] has trust in the guys in front of him… It allows everyone to be able to do what they need to do in those [chaotic] situations, and it also feeds into the bench."
That mojo has led Saros to a career-best shutout streak of 138:22 dating back to March 3 at Minnesota, the fourth-longest streak in team history, and less than 12 minutes off of goaltending partner Pekka Rinne's third-place mark set in 2010.
The Predators will need everyone to be at their best in the final 14 games of the regular season if they're to find themselves in a playoff spot in April, and Saros is certainly doing his part.
"Juice has been excellent," Hynes said. "He's played very well, and he's made a lot of big saves when we've had some breakdowns, which is important. You need great goaltending to be able to win, so hopefully he continues playing the way that he has."
It's already been a week since the lives of so many fellow Nashvillians were forever changed, but the recovery from last Tuesday's tornadoes is far from over.
After the city of Nashville and other towns throughout Middle Tennessee were struck by the storms that left catastrophic damage and took lives, the community jumped in to help. The Predators organization went to work as players, coaches and staff returned home to help collect and sort donations at Nashville's Community Resource Center on Wednesday, and during Thursday's game at Bridgestone Arena, the Preds sold Nashville Strong T-shirts and sweatshirts to benefit relief efforts.
Teams from across the National Hockey League and beyond also made monetary contributions to the cause. Those efforts have certainly made a difference, but there is still work to do in Nashville and beyond.
Nashville Strong apparel is available at NashvilleLockerRoom.com, and there are still plenty of ways to volunteer and assist in the days and weeks ahead.
Hockey World Celebrates International Women's Day:
Sunday was International Women's Day, and the hockey world did its part to honor those females who help to make the sport what it is today.
National broadcasts on Sunday evening featured all-female crews on NBCSN in the United States and Sportsnet in Canada, the NHL Coaches Association announced the establishment of the NHLCA Female Coaches Development Program and support was shown all across social media for women in the sport.
One of those posts came from former Preds goaltender - and current broadcaster - Chris Mason, who shared a message about his daughter, Quinn, and her newfound love of the game.
It's stories exactly like this that prove the importance of women and girls finding involvement in the game of hockey now and in the future. If you or someone you know is interested in learning how to play hockey, click here.
Preds & Threads Fashion Show Coming Soon:
You know you're going to miss the Preds during their week-long, four-game trip, but you don't have to wait until next Thursday to see them back at Bridgestone Arena.
The Predators Foundation will host their Preds & Threads Fashion Show on Tuesday, March 17, in Smashville, and tickets to the one-of-a-kind event are on sale now. Attendees can look forward to a fashion show, featuring the team dressed to the nines in the season's latest trends, cocktails with the Predators coaching staff, broadcasters and alumni, chances to bid and win at an extensive silent auction and more.
In addition to supporting the Preds Foundation, 50 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Middle Tennessee tornado relief efforts.
Dress to impress and click here for more information and to buy tickets. Cocktail attire is required.
Video: Preds pick suits for Preds and Threads fashion show
Video: Wives, girlfriends pick outfits for Preds & Threads
Sunday afternoon brought about a 3-0 shutout win for the Admirals over San Antonio to give Nashville's AHL affiliate win No. 40 on the season. Eeli Tolvanen scored twice in the victory, Daniel Carr added his team-leading 22nd tally of the campaign and Connor Ingram stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn the shutout.
Carr is Milwaukee's leading scorer with 48 points, followed by Cole Schneider with 45 points and Tommy Novak with 40. Tolvanen and Rem Pitlick both have 20 goals on the season, Schneider has 17 tallies and Anthony Richard has 13.
The Ads continue to pace the entire AHL with 40 wins and 88 points.
Goal of the Week:
Video: NSH@DAL: Ellis opens scoring with PPG from boards
Save of the Week:
Video: DAL@NSH: Saros boosts Preds with 33-save performance
Quote of the Week:
Matt Duchene after volunteering to assist with the tornado relief efforts in Nashville:
"It's heartbreaking… and you can't help but put yourself in their shoes and you're just like, 'Wow, it could have been any of us.' It was nice to get out and make some donations and give some time… It was amazing to see this community come together. Just car after car after car pulling up, opening their trunk just loaded with stuff; it's just amazing to see. Obviously, there's still a lot to go, but the way that this community has come together is impressive. It makes me very proud to be a resident here."
Shot of the Week:
…and there's more where that came from.
Predators vs. Oilers Photo Gallery
Predators at Wild Photo Gallery
Predators vs. Stars Photo Gallery
Predators at Stars Photo Gallery
The Week Ahead:
Tuesday at Montreal Canadiens, 6 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee Radio: 102.5 The Game
Thursday at Toronto Maple Leafs, 6 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee Radio: 102.5 The Game
Saturday at Columbus Blue Jackets, 6 p.m. CT
TV: Fox Sports Tennessee Radio: 102.5 The Game
Sunday at Minnesota Wild, 6:30 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSN Radio: 102.5 The Game
Predators Official Podcast:
The Predators win an emotional game after a tornado hits Middle Tennessee. Still, Nashville is back on the playoff line after another up-and-down week. Pierre Lebrun of TSN and The Athletic joins the show to share his insight on the Predators' strategy at the trade deadline and forecasts the final few weeks of the playoff race. Plus, Thomas Willis and Brooks Bratten answer fan questions on the construction of the team's roster, GM meetings and Nashville's upcoming schedule.
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:
March 11- 15: 2020 SEC Basketball Tournament. Click here for full schedule and ticketing information.
July 2, 2020: Bob Dylan and His Band with Nathaniel Rateliff and The Hot Club of Cowtown. Tickets on sale Friday at 11 a.m. CT.
Week in Review:
Recap: Saros, Preds Shut Out Stars Again to Sweep Home-and-Home Set
Recap: Preds Shut Out Stars, Win for Their City and Region Following Tornado
Nashville Predators, Hockey Community Respond to Recent Tornado Disaster
Preds Foundation Awards SuperGrant to Operation Stand Down Tennessee
Preds Come Together to Help Community Following Devastating Tornadoes
Charlie Daniels, MTSU Thankful for Partnership with Preds to Help Vets
Nashville Strong: How to Help in Aftermath of Tennessee Tornado
NHL Names Ryan Ellis Second Star of the Week
Nashville Predators Partner with MTSU in Support of Daniels Center