NHL

Nashville Predators Eager Start

Hockey, it’s the sport that’s swept not only Tennessee but Nashville. The Tennessee Titans have been extremely sub-par which has only helped the fandom for the Nashville Predators. It also helps that the Predators have been successful since the 2016 season.

This season alone, the Predators are once again leading the league in points. Yes, they are only 13 games in but they have looked better than any other team in the league. After last season’s disappointing exit in the second round from the Winnipeg Jets after becoming the Presidents Trophy winners for the first time in franchise history. General manager, Davi Poile made sure that nothing would break this team apart only losing players to trade and retirement, this team’s chemistry is at an all-time high.

The Predators currently stand at 10-3 with two losses coming from backup goalie Jusse Saros while reigning Vezina trophy winner Pekka Rinne was recovering from an injury. Rinne returned last night to defeat the Tampa Bay Lighting 4-1. They are right behind the Preds in points as these are the two best teams in hockey so far.

Let’s talk about the first line for the Preds, the JOFA line. This line consists of Filip Forsberg (10G-4A-14Pts), Ryan Johansen (2G-13A-15Pts) and Viktor Arvidsson (8G-4A-12Pts) with a combined point total of 41 in 13 games. That right there is an impressive stat that not many teams have.

Another key component to this start for the Preds is this defense. Many teams only have your top two defensive players but Nashville has four. Many times the lines stay with the team, but head coach Peter Laviolette knows he could change the line and still see results from the defense. The only downside from this defense is a lot of offensive power, they aren’t the best to defend the zone especially P.K. Subban.

Let’s also not forget that Poile made sure that his superstar players have been locked up. Three-fourths of this roster are signed by the Preds until 2020. That’s at least another year of this team dominating the Western Conference, Central Division, and the entire league. If you don’t have an NHL team yet and are looking for a team to cheer for, you’d be dumb to not choose the Nashville Predators. I truly see this team being dominant for around five more years. They are extremely young and have the talent to win a Stanley Cup. Keep in mind, Austin Watson who is suspended for the first 18 games, will be returning soon and he is a role player this team will be glad to have.

A Nashville fan base has been looking for a team to cheer for that will make it far in the playoffs because we all know the Titans can’t go anywhere. As you might have seen with the playoff runs in the past two years, this Nashville city is eager and ready to have a team be champions and the Predators are the closest thing they have to one. May I also mention, if you thought Nashville was a crazy scene just for the playoffs might I mention what it would be like if they won the Stanley Cup?

This team is feeding off the energy and vibe of this fan base. I haven’t been to many other venues, but for the ones I have been, nothing comes close to the atmosphere of Bridgestone Arena. The only hope Preds fans have is overcoming the Presidents trophy curse. Only eight teams since 1986 have successfully pulled off a Presidents and Stanley Cup trophy in the same year. Will the NHL add and be able to add a ninth team to that stat? It’s too early to tell but the Predators are making a strong case for both in 2019.

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Preston Bostain
Preston covers the Tennessee Titans and the AFC South for NGSC Sports. He also covers Nashville Predators hockey.
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