Apr 26, 2022 - Sports

Expert analysis: Predators' playoff chances

Nashville predators players in gold/yellow uniforms celebrating a goal

Predators players during the game Sunday. Photo: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

With the Nashville Predators on the brink of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, we talked with Adam Vingan, beat reporter for the Athletic, about where things stand heading into the home stretch.

Axios: What are the Preds' chances of reaching the playoffs?

Vingan: "They have three games left in the regular season, and basically it's three teams for two spots — the Predators, the Dallas Stars and the Vegas Golden Knights — in the wild card race in the Western Conference.

  • "As things stand this morning, the Predators have a 1-point lead over the Stars and a 4-point lead over the Golden Knights. ... The Stars and Golden Knights play each other [on Tuesday]. That'll help the Predators, since one of those teams is guaranteed to lose.
  • "The Predators are in prime position to qualify for the postseason for the eighth consecutive year."

Axios: What are the defining characteristics of this team?

Vingan: "They want to rely on their physicality to disrupt the other team. For a few years, preceding the coaching change they made in January 2020, it felt like you never knew what you were going to get from the Predators on a nightly basis. And now you do.

  • "They have four 60-point scorers for the first time in 15 years. They also have two 40-goal scorers, something they've never had up until this season.
  • "The predominant storyline this season has been the resurgence of those top players, namely Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen — all of whom had not been performing up to their capabilities in recent seasons. I think the genesis of that resurgence is the relationship those players have formed with [coach] John Hynes."

What's next: The Predators play at home Tuesday against Calgary, then they're at Colorado on Thursday and at Arizona on Friday to close the regular season.

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