Things change quickly in the NHL at this time of the season. Just 36 hours ago the Predators were in eighth place and fans of the Ducks and Blues were suffering severe anxiety. The Ducks and Blues each had challenging games on Thursday night and lossed by both would have slid the Preds up a slot into seventh place. All three teams have played one game since and Preds have dropped into ninth in the standings.
But as quickly as things dipped for Nashville, they can turn around just as fast. The Preds return to Nashville for their final two home games of the season – tomorrow against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Tuesday in a re-match with the Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim and St. Louis also play tomorrow.
Where all the results seemed to go wrong for the Preds Thursday and Friday, a win tomorrow over Columbus and a reversal of fortune for Anaheim and/or St. Louis, and all of a sudden Nashville’s back where it started when play began on Thursday night.
The Predators were in a similar situation last season and picked up an improbable overtime point at Detroit and a stunning come-from-behind win at St. Louis to finish the season 2-1-1 in the last four, which coupled with a surprising collapse from the Vancouver Canucks – who blew a two-goal lead at home to Colorado in their third-to-last game of the season and then dropped their next game to Edmonton (also at home) – to allow the Predators to climb into the final playoff spot.
There are nine days left in the season and the playoff picture is likely to change each day. As disappointing as the results have been the past few days, there are still four games left in the season which is plenty of time for momentum to swing back in Nashville’s favor.