On Saturday afternoon, the Nashville Predators traveled to Verizon Center in Washington, DC to take on the Washington Capitals. The Preds would get their 102nd point, and clinch a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Nashville is the 1st team in the Western Conference to clinch a spot for the post-season.
The Capitals were able to get back in the game with two goals in the second period with two goals from Troy Brouwer (19, 20). Mike Ribeiro was able to answer the two Caps goals at 11:56 to net his 15th goal of the season.
Mike Green scored 20 seconds into the third period, but Pekka Rinne was able to shut down the robust offense of Washington to give the Preds the 4-3 win.
Today, the Preds (47-21-8) will make it back to Bridgestone Arena to begin a three-game home stand. The first game will be against the Calgary Flames.
In their last outing, the Flames lost against the Minnesota Wild 4-2. The game was tied 1-1 at the end of the second period, but Karri Ramo gave up three goals in the third period to fall to the Wild. Calgary’s two goals came from Josh Jooris (12) at 5:52 of the first period, and Markus Granlund (6) at 15:17 of the third period.
Keys to Watch
Nashville has been involved with many back-to-back games this season. Most recently, the Predators had a back-to-back on March 14th (LAK 2-1 Win) and March 15th (ANA 4-2 Loss). This season, Nashville has not faired well on the back end of the back-to-back. The last time the Predators won both games in a back-to-back was on February 7th (NYR 3-2 Win) and February 8th (FL Panthers 3-2 SO Win). The Predators will need to have another strong start to extend their winning streak to 5 games.
Gaudreau vs Forsberg
Two of the best young players in the NHL will be on display at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday. Preds’ fans know the brilliance this season of Filip Forsberg. Forsberg is currently tied for the team lead in points with 59. He leads all rookies in points. He is tied for the team lead with 23 goals, and 3rd on the team with 36 assists. Johnny Gaudreau has been just as impressive. This season, the young Salem, New Jersey native has 21 goals, 37 assists for a total of 58 points. Needless to say, these two impressive rookies will be up for the Calder Trophy at the end of the season, as well they should be.
If there is one big concern for the Nashville Predators, it would be the injury bug. On Saturday, Captain Shea Weber was out and is currently day-to-day due to a lower body injury. James Neal has been out since March 14th due to an upper body injury. Eric Nystrom has been out longer than any other player on the Predators roster due to a lower-body injury. He was placed on a day-to-day designation on March 6th. Nashville has clinched for the playoffs and will need those three players for success. This team needs to get healthy before game 1 of their ultimate goal of raising Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Seth Jones bobblehead night will have Bridgestone Arena rocking on Sunday afternoon. With a 4:00 pm CDT start, be sure to get to the arena on time! If you can’t make it out to the game, be sure to get all of your Preds coverage on FOX Sports Tennessee or listen live on 102.5 The Game.
**Remember to go purchase your Stanley Cup Playoff tickets!