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Nashville Predators defeat the Minnesota Wild 1-0 clinch Stanley Cup Playoff spot

 

Nashville PredatorsSt. Paul, MN – The Nashville Predators punched their ticket to the Stanley Cup playoffs tonight with a win over the Minnesota Wild, 1-0.  Ryan Johansen scored the game winner, just 4:32 into the opening period.

The Predators were coming off of a humiliating loss to the central division leading Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night and with the St. Louis Blues breathing down their neck, they desperately needed a win tonight.

Winnipeg lost to the Dallas Stars, but the Blues beat the Vegas Golden Knights to stay within two points of the Predators.  The final few games of the regular season will determine how these teams shake out for the playoffs.  Nashville still has a chance to win the division, but they could also fall to third place by seasons end.

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros (74) makes a save in front of Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin (19) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros (74) makes a save in front of Minnesota Wild forward Luke Kunin (19) during the second period at Xcel Energy Center. (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators humiliated by Winnipeg 5-0

 

Nashville PredatorsWinnipeg, Manitoba, Canada – The Nashville Predators were no match tonight for the central division leading Winnipeg Jets, getting shutout 5-0.

There will be a lot of soul searching in the Predators locker room after this one, and it will be interesting to see which direction this team goes from here. 

Nashville was hoping for a chance to take over the division with a win, and now they’re looking over their shoulder at St. Louis making a charge for second place.

Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) skates towards Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) in the first period at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports)

Winnipeg Jets right wing Patrik Laine (29) skates towards Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) in the first period at Bell MTS Place. (James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1 in a Bridgestone Arena shoot-out, with Sidney Crosby proving to be the difference.

The Predators were pedaling uphill all night long chasing the game after a whirlwind start where they attacked the Pens in the opening frame of the contest.  Once again, the story of their season so far, they have no power play.

The two teams traded punches during the first period with plenty of opportunities for both teams, but both Pekka Rinne and Matt Murray stood tall in net for their respective teams to keep the game scoreless.

Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) attempts a jump screen on a shot from the point against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) attempts a jump screen on a shot from the point against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators defeat Toronto Maple Leafs 3-0

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators had their way with the visiting Toronto Maple Leafs tonight, pitching a shutout, 3-0.  Newly acquired forward Wayne Simmonds scored his first goal as a Predator and Pekka Rinne stood tall in net, as Nashville shutout the Leafs for the second time this season.

Brian Boyle got things started for Nashville at 4:47 of the first period when he and Craig Smith pulled off the classic “give and go” to perfection, ripping the puck past Toronto goalie, Frederik Andersen for the early 1-0 lead.

Nashville would take that lead into the first intermission.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) watches the puck behind Toronto Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau (12) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) watches the puck behind Toronto Maple Leafs center Patrick Marleau (12) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators down the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in shootout

 

Nashville PredatorsSt. Paul, MN – The Nashville Predators clawed their way back from a 2-1 deficit against the Minnesota Wild tonight to win the game, 3-2 in a shootout.

The two points Nashville picked up keeps them in touch with the Central Division leading Winnipeg Jets who beat Columbus 5-2 today.

Nashville faced several ex-Predators tonight with Kevin Fiala facing his former team, along with Anthony Bitetto, Ryan Suter and Pontus Aberg.  

The Predators brought former Minnesota sharp-shooter Mikael Granlund with them to face his former team as well. 

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) shoots the puck against Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the first period at Xcel Energy Center. (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) shoots the puck against Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter (20) in the first period at Xcel Energy Center. (David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to Winnipeg 5-3

 

Nashville PredatorsWinnipeg, Manitoba Canada -The Nashville Predators blew a two goal lead to fall to their Central Division rivals, the Winnipeg Jets, 5-3.  With the loss, Nashville relinquishes first place in the division.

Penalties and lack of a power play cost the Predators once again tonight as the Jets took full advantage of their man advantage.

Nashville struck first at 15:21 of the opening period when Viktor Arvidsson took a feed in the circle and ripped a wicked wrister past goalie Laurent Brossoit for the early 1-0 lead.

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. (Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bell MTS Place. (Terrence Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to the St. Louis Blues 2-0

 

Nashville PredatorsSt. Louis, MO – A frustrating night for the Nashville Predators as they completed the second game of a back-to-back series, falling to the St. Louis Blues, 2-0.

The Predators had NO offense against the Blues tonight, but still had a chance to win the game behind the amazing goaltending of Juuse Saros, who was a human punching bag for St. Louis.  The Blues outshot the Predators, 44-19. 

In what could be a first round matchup in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Predators failed to beat the Blues during the regular season with tonight’s loss.

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) defends the net against St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) during the first period at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) defends the net against St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) during the first period at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to St. Louis Blues 3-2

 

Nashville PredatorsSt. Louis, MO – The Nashville Predators fell to the St. Louis Blues this afternoon in game one of a back-to-back series with the Blues, 3-2. 

St. Louis used a constant offensive attack all afternoon to keep Nashville at bay.

Vince Dunn got the scoring started for St. Louis at 4:37 of the opening frame by taking his own rebound off his initial shot and tucking it into the net past Pekka Rinne, who despite the loss, had a phenomenal game. 

St. Louis took the early 1-0 lead.

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) shoots as St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) defends the net during the second period at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators center Ryan Johansen (92) shoots as St. Louis Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington (50) defends the net during the second period at Enterprise Center. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators thumped by visiting Winnipeg Jets 5-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators had nothing for the Winnipeg Jets tonight in a battle of Central Division rivals as the visitors pounded Nashville, 5-1.

From start to finish, the Jets outskated and outplayed the home team and proved why at this point in the season, they sit atop the division.

Brendan Lemieux pulled the wool over the eyes of the Nashville defense at 10:09 of the first period, when he faked a shot on the offensive rush, then slipped the wrap around shot past Pekka Rinne for the early 1-0 lead.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Mathieu Perreault (85) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) makes a save on a shot by Winnipeg Jets left wing Mathieu Perreault (85) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Arvidsson hat-trick leads Nashville Predators over the Washington Capitals 7-2

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators defeated the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals tonight at Bridgestone Arena, 7-2, behind Viktor Arvidssons hat-trick. 

Arvidsson has now scored nine goals in nine games for the Predators and shows no sign of wear and tear after returning from a broken thumb. 

Washington was completing a “back-to-back” series tonight in Nashville, having lost in St. Louis last night to the Blues.  The Capitals started their back up in goal, Pheonix Copley, and he got a very rude welcome to the music city. 

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) scores a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley (1) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) scores a goal against Washington Capitals goaltender Pheonix Copley (1) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports)

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