It wasn’t always pretty, but the Nashville Predators got the job done and are headed to the NHL Playoffs for the eighth consecutive year.
The Preds had a few opportunities to punch their ticket to the 2022 NHL Postseason, the easiest being to beat the Calgary Flames at Bridgestone on Tuesday night (April 26). However, a goal scored with 0.1 seconds left in the third period tied the game at 4-4. Nashville went on to a heartbreaking loss to Calgary, putting their playoff hopes on hold.
Fans and the team were forced to wait to see the results of the Las Vegas vs. Dallas game, as any Golden Knight loss would secure the Preds a spot in the playoffs. Las Vegas went on to lose in an extremely intense shootout, allowing Nashville to clinch the Playoff spot.
“I thought tonight was a high stakes game. It was very competitive by both teams,” said head coach John Hynes in a postgame press conference. “I think with what obviously happened with Dallas and Vegas, it’s a real tribute to our players. I think we certainly deserve to be in the playoffs after the way we played here and the way the guys battled. No one picked us to be here. We talked about writing our own story and having a strong team identity and a strong team culture along with a lot of talent.
“I think the guys deserve it,” Hynes summed. “They worked their butts off for 80 games to get here, so I’m really happy for our group.”
Though the Predators are back in the postseason, goaltender Juuse Saros sustained an injury with around 6:30 left in the game forcing the team to use backup David Rittich. Coach Hynes did not give any update on Saros or if he is seriously hurt.
The Preds sit in the first Wild Card spot with 95 points and Dallas sits in the second spot with 95 points. Nashville has two games left in the regular season against Colorado on Thursday (April 28) and Arizona on Friday (April 29).
Two wins could solidify the Preds in the top Wild Card spot, meaning they would play the Calgary Flames in the first round. If they wind up as the second Wild Card team, they will face the Colorado Avalanche who are the second best team in the league.
Single-game tickets for Round One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs will go on sale this Thursday, April 28 at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster.com.