Playoff Bound: Coyotes punch Nashville’s Ticket

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 5.35.30 PM

Original Image Source: Google Images

Be sure to give the Arizona Coyotes a big thank you as it was with their 2-1 win over the L.A. Kings last night that officially punched Nashville’s ticket into the 2017 NHL Playoffs. With this berth, the Predators now have three consecutive playoff appearances with ten out of thirteen seasons overall. So, needless to say, Nashville is no stranger to the playoffs, but surpassing the second round has always seemed to allude the team.

So, now that Nashville is officially in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup this season, who will fight them for it? If the playoffs were to begin today, that lucky opponent would be the ever-so-popular Chicago Blackhawks. As you might agree, that isn’t exactly in Nashville’s favor. However, there is still a slim (and by slim, I mean really slim) chance that Nashville could be matched up with either Minnesota or whomever wins the Pacific Division. With only three games left in the regular season for the Predators, as I mentioned, the odds aren’t in Nashville’s favor. But, to keep a little optimism going here, all is not lost if Nashville faces Chicago in the first round. Is it the most ideal? Absolutely not for a number of reasons, but stranger things have happened. However, with Nashville’s consistent inconsistency this season, it will certainly be an uphill battle no matter who the Predators are ultimately paired with in the first round.

Save

Advertisements

2017 NHL All-Star Roster Announced

c101sywweaeg_4m-jpg_large

Image Source: NBC Sports

Moments ago, the NHL released the final roster of the 2017 NHL All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles January 28th-29th. Not surprisingly, Nashville has only one player on said roster: P.K. Subban, who was voted by the fans as the Central Division Captain. And, with his upper-body injury slated to be healed by the All-Star Weekend, Subban may have to relinquish his captain duties to someone else for safety’s sake.

– CENTRAL DIVISION

  • P.K. Subban – Nashville Predators
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Devan Dubnyk – Minnesota Wild
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
  • Nathan MacKinnon – Colorado Avalanche
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars

 

– ATLANTIC DIVISION:

  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
  • Victor Hedman – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Shea Weber – Montreal Canadiens
  • Erik Karlsson – Ottawa Senators
  • Frans Nielsen – Detroit Red Wings
  • Nikita Kucherov – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Vincent Trocheck – Florida Panthers
  • Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Kyle Okposo – Buffalo Sabres
  • Brad Marchand – Boston Bruins

– PACIFIC DIVISION:

  • Connor McDavid – Edmonton Oilers
  • Martin Jones – San Jose Sharks
  • Mike Smith – Arizona Coyotes
  • Cam Fowler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Ryan Kesler – Anaheim Ducks
  • Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
  • Jeff Carter – L.A. Kings
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Bo Horvat – Vancouver Canucks

– METROPOLITAN DIVISION:

  • Sidney Crosby – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Braden Holtby – Washington Capitals
  • Sergei Bobrovsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Evgeni Malkin – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Wayne Simmonds – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Ryan McDonagh – New York Rangers
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Taylor Hall – New Jersey Devils
  • Seth Jones – Columbus Blue Jackets

What do you think about the roster for this year’s All-Star Weekend? Nashville isn’t the only team with one representative, but if you want to include former Preds (Ryan Suter, Devan Dubnyk, Seth Jones, and Shea Weber), then Nashville’s actually pretty well represented.

All joking aside, the big question is will Subban be healthy enough to participate? As mentioned, his 2-3 week recovery time ends at about the time of the All-Star festivities, but should not participate if it risks re-injury (thus keeping him out of the lineup even longer). Of course, that will be something the organization and Subban discuss as time gets closer.

 

 

Rinne named Vezina Finalist

74ce15774600d60de204a650701dbce6

Earlier this afternoon, the NHL announced its nominees for the Vezina Trophy, an award given to the league’s best goaltender. Here’s an excerpt from the official news release:

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne has been named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, as voted on by general managers of all NHL clubs. This is Rinne’s third career nomination for the award, given annually to the NHL goaltender judged to be the best at his position. Rinne was nominated in 2011 and 2012, but is yet to win the award.

After missing significant time due to a hip infection in 2013-14, Rinne returned to form in the 2014-15 campaign, finishing the season with 41 wins (tied for second in the NHL) and among the League leaders in goals-against average (2.18) and save percentage (.923).

Nashville’s nominee for the 2015 Masterton Trophy, awarded to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, Rinne recorded two, six-game winning streaks and posted four shutouts during the regular season.

On March 14 in Los Angeles, Rinne made 23 saves to record his 200th career NHL victory, and the 600th all-time for the franchise, in his 370th career appearance, all of which had come as a member of the Preds. Against the Rangers on Feb. 7, the Kempele, Finland, native became the fastest (in terms of games played) goaltender to record 30 wins (39 games played) since the NHL adopted the shootout in 2005-06 and just the third goalie in the NHL’s expansion era to tally 30 wins in 39 games or less.

Also nominated are Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and Devan Dubnyk of the Minnesota Wild. I totally understand Price, but Dubnyk? He has been exceptionally well when Minnesota has needed him, but so has a ton of other backup goaltenders. Strangely enough, I am not surprised he was nominated; too many writers discussing it these past few months. As much as I think Rinne deserves this award, I am afraid it will end up in Price’s hands. Not only is he heavily favored, he has been excruciatingly consistent.

The NHL Awards are slated for June 24th, time TBA, in Las Vegas.

If the Playoffs were Today…

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

With just three games left in the regular season, the Predators have comfortably nestled themselves into a playoff spot… but so have the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks. Because Nashville has failed to notch wins in the last three games, St. Louis has pulled ahead of the Predators by one point, 105 to 104. Okay, so not winning the Central Division won’t be the end-all-be-all; after all, we are looking towards the future playoff games, right? Well… you know that little rift between Chicago and Nashville, yea? That scenario could just rear its ugly head earlier than Preds fans had hoped.

Here’s how the match-ups would look if the playoffs started today:

nhlYep, you are reading that correctly. If the playoffs started today, you’d be looking at a match-up between the Predators and Blackhawks in the first round. But you laugh and say, “But the playoffs don’t start today so there’s no need to panic us.” No, I am not trying to cause mass hysteria, but here’s a little secret: if the Predators don’t win the Central Division and the Wild don’t surpass the Blackhawks, this match-up is happening.

Now, it’s not that the Predators cannot beat the Blackhawks; after all, the Blackhawks only beat the Predators in regulation once within their meetings this season, with Nashville winning one. Not the best of records but those one-pointers helped push us above the ‘Hawks nonetheless. However, with the “heartless” way that Nashville has been playing as of late, it’s looking a little iffy for the first round of playoffs, no matter who the Predators get paired with.

Now, you probably have already known about this possibly pairing, as the Predators reported on it yesterday. Well, this is for all of my followers living under textbooks – err, rocks – and do not see everything that gets posted.

So, who’s left on Nashville’s regular calendar? At Colorado tomorrow, Minnesota at home Thursday, and rounding it out in Dallas on Saturday. Can Nashville beat all those opponents to jump ahead of St. Louis? Absolutely… if they – um – wake up.

Preds Recall Viktor Arvidsson

Source: Google Images

Hello again! Yes, I have been uber slacking on updating the site. But I am back just in time to let you know that right winger, Viktor Arvidsson has been recalled by the Predators from the Milwaukee Admirals! Here’s an excerpt from the official Preds presser:

Arvidsson, 21 (4/8/93), currently leads the Admirals, is tied for the AHL rookie lead, and tied for 10th among all AHL skaters in points (20g-31a-51pts) while playing in all 63 of the team’s games this season. The Kusmark, Sweden, native is also second among all rookies in goals and fourth among first-year players in assists, as well as ranking second among rookies in power-play goals (7), and tied for fourth in game-winning goals (4). He also leads the entire AHL in shots by 28 (237).

A 5-11, 176-pound right wing, Arvidsson – selected 112th (fourth round) by Nashville in the 2014 Draft – ranked ninth in the Swedish Hockey League in points (16g-24a-40pts) during the 2013-14 season, then helped Skelleftea win its second consecutive SHL title by tying for second in assists (12) and ranking third in points (16) during the postseason. During the title-winning season of 2012-13 he tied for fourth in playoff goals (6) and was named Swedish junior player of the year and a finalist for the SHL rookie of the year award.

Arvidsson tied for eighth in goals (4) at the 2013 World Junior Championship, helping Sweden to a silver medal, and also earned silver at the 2011 Under-18 World Championship, playing alongside Predators forward Filip Forsberg on both squads.

Per reports, he is being recalled for “emergency conditions”… wait, what? Per Kris Martel, his call up could be related to Colin Wilson’s early dismissal from practice yesterday.

The Predators have been enjoying a much needed break since Tuesday disappointing overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild, welcome in the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.

NSH notches 40th Win in SO against BUF 2-1

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images

Well, this isn’t the road trip the Predators expected to have, now is it? After taking a loss Thursday 5-2 from the New York Islanders, then limping away with a point yesterday afternoon against the Flyers, the Predators were hoping to shake off this excruciating road trip with a win against the 17-38-4 (ouch) Buffalo Sabres before returning home on Tuesday.

SCRATCHES: Victor Bartley, Calle Jarnkrok

FIRST PERIOD:

  • A rather uneventful period, Nashville managed to out-shoot Buffalo eleven to three, but Michal Neuvirth was there to block the Preds.

SECOND PERIOD:

  • What looked like another quiet period, Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis (15) was able to sink a wrister on Carter Hutton at 19:46, giving the Sabres a late second period 1-0 lead. Zemgus Girgensons (14) and Matt Moulson (17) tallied the assists.
  • Nashville once again out-shot Buffalo, this time fifteen to four, but it was Ennis who found the sweet spot.

THIRD PERIOD:

  • Relief for the Predators came at 15:43 on the powerplay as Mike Ribeiro (12) deflected a shot to tie the game at one. Cody Franson (27) and Seth Jones (16) notch the assists.
  • The Predators only managed ten shots-on-goal during the third, but again, out-shot the Sabres by four.

OVERTIME:

  • The Predators were given a late overtime powerplay chance, but nothing could be accomplished by either team in OT, so onward to the shootout…

SHOOTOUT:

  • BUF – Matt Moulson – MISS
  • NSH – Mike Santorelli – GOAL
  • BUF – Tyler Ennis – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • BUF – Zemgus Girgensons – MISS
  • NSH – Matt Cullen – MISS
  • BUF – Brian Gionta – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – GOAL

POST GAME NOTES:

  • The Predators are the first team in the NHL to reach 40 wins with this shootout victory and set a franchise record.
  • Both Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli help secure this win tonight, with Franson collecting an assist and Santorelli sinking a goal in the shootout.

Inhale slowly through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth; the Predators walk away with the two points. Okay, but let’s discuss how outrageous Michal Neuvirth was in net tonight. Nashville was doing everything right; you can see that from the amount of shots-on-goal. Unfortunately, Neuvirth was doing everything right, too. The kid blocked 37 of the 38 SOG; that’s Pekka-esque and pretty darn good.

Take a deep breath, my friends. The Predators are back home Tuesday to take on the Colorado Avalanche, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the Central Division. Then it’s a bout with Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.

2015 NHL All-Star Weekend in Review

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Columbus, Ohio was the place to be this weekend has the city hosted the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. As you know, Nashville was chosen as the host city for the 2016 ASG Weekend, which will be an event on its own. But until then, let’s recap the fun that happened this weekend in Columbus… Oh, and for the sake of keeping this post from being ninety pages long, we’ll stick to Nashville’s accomplishments:

Team Foligno:

  • Nick Foligno – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Brian Elliot – St. Louis Blues
  • Marc-Andre Fleury – Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Carey Price – Montreal Canadiens
  • Drew Doughty – L.A. Kings
  • Duncan Keith – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Kevin Shattenkirk – St. Louis Blues
  • Dustin Byfuglien – Winnipeg Jets
  • Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Arizona Coyotes
  • Brent Burns – San Jose Sharks
  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Edmonton Oilers
  • Bobby Ryan – Ottawa Senators
  • Alexander Ovechkin – Washington Capitals
  • Anze Kopitar – L.A. Kings
  • Radim Vrabata – Vancouver Canucks
  • Ryan Johansen – Columbus Blue Jackets
  • Zemgus Girgensons – Buffalo Sabres
  • Claude Giroux – Philadelphia Flyers
  • Phil Kessel – Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Patrick Kane – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Steven Stamkos – Tampa Bay Lightning
  • Coaching Staff: Darryl Sutter – L.A. Kings

Team Toews:

  • Jonathan Toews – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Corey Crawford – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Roberto Luongo – Florida Panthers
  • Jaroslav Halak – New York Islanders
  • Aaron Ekblad – Florida Panthers
  • Mark Giordano – Calgary Flames
  • Shea Weber – Nashville Predators
  • Johnny Gaudreau – Calgary Flames
  • Brent Seabrook – Chicago Blackhawks
  • Ryan Suter – Minnesota Wild
  • Justin Faulk – Carolina Hurricanes
  • Filip Forsberg – Nashville Predators
  • Ryan Getzlaf – Anaheim Ducks
  • Patrik Elias – New Jersey Devils
  • Patrice Bergeron – Boston Bruins
  • Rick Nash – New York Rangers
  • Tyler Seguin – Dallas Stars
  • Vladimir Tarasenko – St. Louis Blues
  • Jakub Vorachek – Philadelphia Flyers
  • John Tavares – New York Islanders
  • Coaching Staff – Peter Laviolette – Nashville Predators

As you recall, Pekka Rinne was not included in the All-Star “draft” due to sustaining a knee sprain. Because Filip Forsberg was chosen last for Team Toews, he was the lucky winner of a brand new Honda Accord. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also won a new Honda, as he was chosen last for Team Foligno.

Source: @NHL

Source: @NHL

Saturday – Skills Competition – Winner: Team Foligno

Despite a good show by Team Toews, it was Team Foligno who reigned in the Skills Competition held on Saturday evening. Both Weber and Forsberg participated in the relay and shootout, but it was Weber who shined – not surprisingly – during the Hardest Shot round.

Shea originally missed his first shot, but more than nailed his second attempt, clocking his shot at 108.5 MPH. Weber certainly won the competition, but missed notching the hardest shot ever recorded, which is held by Zdeno Chara at 108.8 MPH. Forsberg shined in the relay portion, showing off his crazy insane puck-handling skills.

Sunday – All-Star Game – Winner: Team Toews

Though the fell short in the Skills Competition, Team Toews out-powered Team Foligno by a long shot during the actual All-Star Game, winning 17-12. And, believe it or not, though the All-Star Game tends to always have a ton of goals, this was the highest scoring game in its history. Filip Forsberg’s two goals helped get Team Toews to the win, the first goals scored by a Nashville Predator in an All-Star Game. Shea Weber also notched an assist off of Tyler Seguin’s goal.

From the World Wide World of Twitter:

So that’s a wrap on the 2015 NHL All-Star Weekend. Next Stop: Nashville! But before then, the Predators must press forward with the remainder of this season and push into the playoffs. Pekka Rinne should also be re-evaluated soon, along with Ryan Ellis. The Predators return to the regular season this Tuesday as they welcome in the Colorado Avalanche at 7PM.

Preds tally Win over Wild 3-1

fisher

After capturing the top of the league on Thursday night, the Predators would need to continue with a win in St. Paul to hang onto that title just a little bit longer. The Wild, who have been having some rather interesting issues, are hurting for a win, and what better way to knock the best team in the league for a loop?

SCRATCHES: Mark Arcobello
NOTEWORTHY: Update on injuries, Ryan Ellis will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break (January 24-25), which means he’s out for at least two weeks; he has also been placed on the IR with an lower-body injury. Also, Eric Nystrom’s injury has gone from undisclosed to classified as an upper-body.

First Period:

  • Mike Fisher would get the ball rolling early in the first period with his seventh goal of the season at 4:01. Colin Wilson (14), who has been on fire this season (to say the least), picked up the lone assist.
  • Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle would tie the game at 14:14 for his fourth goal of the season.
  • The Wild would outshoot the Predators 14 to 8, pointing out just how incredible Pekka Rinne really is.

Second Period:

  • Both the Wild and the Predators would take nine shots on goal, but none could make their way past the opposing goaltenders during the second period.
  • Nashville took four penalties during the second period alone, including one from Pekka Rinne (served by Craig Smith). Even more proof on why Pekka Rinne is the best goaltender in this league this season.

Third Period:

  • Calle Jarnkrok would collect his fifth goal of the season at 3:48 after being in the right place at the right time whilst Niklas Backstrom was distracted. Olli Jokinen (3) and Shea Weber (19) tallied the assists.
  • At 8:47, Colin Wilson would notch his 12th of the season with the unassisted game winning goal.
  • Though Wilson sealed the game winner within the first ten minutes of the period, the game certainly wasn’t over. With just a few minutes left in the game, Matt Cooke decided cross-checking Shea Weber in the face was a good idea. It wasn’t.
    B7HPM8eCYAIi_BF

    Source: TheScore.com

    As the wise Antoine Dodson once said:

    antoine_dodson_you_are_so_dumb-14245

Needless to say, Angry Shea reared his ugly head and beat Matt Cooke to a pulp. Here’s the video of said beat-down:

And, if watching his teammate get his butt kicked wasn’t enough, Nate Prosser stepped up to duke it out with Mike Fisher with just a minute and a half left in the game:

And, as you can see from the video, Angry Mike also made an appearance after Prosser took a cheap shot at Taylor Beck.

After kicking the Wild’s keister not only physically but numerically as well, the Predators secured another day as the leaders of the league and improved their record to 28-9-4. The Predators welcome in the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and then Barry Trotz and the Washington Capitals on Friday night.

NSH claims 1st in League after OT Win over DAL

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Source: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Though it landed in overtime, the Predators captured the all-important two points to claim first in not only the Western Conference, but the entire League. Wowza. Or, as Sean McIndoe so eloquently put it:

Did the Predators ruin a bunch of predictions for the 2014-15 NHL season? Yea, I am going to go ahead and say that’s a big y-e-s to that one. It’s certainly not a bad thing. No one, not even the loyalest of fans, could have imagine that the Nashville Predators would be 27-9-4 at the beginning of January. And no one surely could’ve imagined that would be good enough to take the League. A team from Nashville?

I know, world; it’s hard to believe a bunch of hillbillies could muster the best team in the league. I must ask, though, as to why that always comes up. None of these guys [players], let alone the majority of the staff, administration, organization, what have you, aren’t even from Tennessee! Haters gonna hate. Shake it off.

SCRATCHES: Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • Shea Weber set the game in motion at 15:27 with a signature slapshot past Kari Lehtonen for his ninth goal of the season. Mike Ribeiro (27) and Roman Josi (19) collect the assists.
  • Nashville would end the first period leading the Stars 1-0.

Second Period:

  • Jason Spezza would tie the game at 12:51, his seventh goal of the season.
  • In his NHL debut, nonetheless, Miikka Salomaki would claim his first career NHL goal at 16:47, pushing Nashville back into the lead 2-1. Roman Josi (20) and Calle Jarnkrok (6) collected the assists.
  • With just two seconds left in the period, Trevor Daley would sink one past Pekka Rinne to tie the game at two heading into the third.

Third Period:

  • Though it falls in the books that there were no goals tallied in the third period, a different story could be said for Preds fans. In a battle to get the puck to the net, Craig Smith got tied up with Kari Lehtonen, which allowed Filip Forsberg to sweep in for the score. Lindy Ruff and the Dallas bench called foul, claiming Smith was keeping Lehtonen from covering the post. Though originally called a goal, the play was then reversed in a matter of Smith committed “incidental contact” on Lehtonen. Of course, on review, it is clear that Jason Demers is crosschecking Smith into Lehtonen, thus causing the “incidental contact”, but it is all in the books at this point.

Overtime:

  • In a game that should’ve ended in regulation, Shea Weber sealed the victory in favor of Nashville just seventeen seconds into overtime, his second of the night and 10th goal of the season. Mike Fisher (7) and Colin Wilson (13) picked up the assists on Weber’s game winning goal.

Game. Set. Match. With the anticipated two points, the Predators bumped the Anaheim Ducks from the top of the Western Conference and League standings. However, Nashville isn’t out of the clear; both they and Anaheim share 58 points, but because the Ducks have played two more games, the Predators notch the top spot. With that, in order to push further ahead, Nashville will need to beat Minnesota tomorrow in regulation (or at least get one point) and hope that Anaheim gets steamrolled by the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.

So Preds fans, bask in the glory that is top of the Central Division, Western Conference, and League.
B64gd3DCcAExNpY

Gritty Third Period leads to NSH Victory over CAR

Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America

A gritty third period indeed. After a lackluster performance within the first and second periods, the outcome of the game in favor of Nashville looked pretty bleak going into the third period. Carolina, who were 12-24-4, were already up by one on Nashville and, even though that should be nothing for a team that is 25-9-4 should be concerned with, the Predators have a lengthy record of flunking against the Hurricanes.

SCRATCHES:

  • James Neal Anton Volchenkov

First Period:

  • The Hurricanes jumped on the board with a powerplay goal at 17:25 from Eric Staal, his eleventh of the season for Carolina.
  • Carolina managed to notch twelve shots on net, while Nashville desperately hunted for it, only tallying seven shots on net.

Second Period:

  • The second period brought zero luck to either contender on the side of goals.
  • Nashville came out with a bit more gusto this period, taking twelve shots to the net compared to Carolina’s five.

Third Period:

  • Peter Laviolette must have sacrificed a rookie during the second intermission because the Predators finally hit the ice with some power in the third.
  • Ryan Ellis (5) put the team on the board at 4:43 with a tricky slip behind Cam Ward’s back. Viktor Stalberg picked up his second assist for the season – his first one gained just last Saturday against the Kings.
  • Carolina would regain the lead at 8:14 with a powerplay goal from Justin Faulk, their second of the night.
  • A little over two minutes later, Mike Fisher would tie it once again for his sixth goal of the season. Colin Wilson (12) and Filip Forsberg (24) tally the assists.
  • Noteworthy: With his 24th assist, Filip Forsberg has now surpassed Alexander Radulov’s Franchise Rookie Record of 37 points; Forsberg leads rookies in the league with 38 points, 14 goals, 24 assists, and 23 plus-minus points. If he isn’t a Calder contender, I will have no reason to doubt the NHL just hates Nashville.
    radulov
  • Roman Josi would nail the GWG at 15:17 for his seventh goal of the season, bringing Nashville back from a dismal first and second periods. Viktor Stalberg (3) and Eric Nystrom (4) would nab the assists.

As the saying goes, “They don’t ask ‘how’ you won, but ‘if’ you won. Gritty wins in regulation still give you the two points.” — Someone says that. And, as news on the standings goes, Chicago (54) was blanked by the Colorado Avalanche last night, pushing Nashville (56) up two points. Though the Predators were already at the top of the Central Division, it’s still nice to push forward even farther from the Blackhawks. It is important to note that the Predators are also just two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for first in the Western Conference.

The 18-15-6 Dallas Stars roll into town on Thursday, then Nashville is off to St. Paul to visit Ryan Suter and the 18-15-5 Minnesota Wild.