It’s official: Predators have been eliminated from playoffs

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The Vancouver Canucks beat Nashville 5-2 on Monday, officially killing the Predators’ playoff hopes in the process.

Barry Trotz’s bunch didn’t exactly go down swinging. This defeat marks their seventh consecutive regulation loss. They’ve only won one game in their last 11 tries (1-8-2).

It’s tempting to say that it all truly started to fall apart after the Minnesota Wild took a 2-1 shootout win in Ryan Suter’s return to Nashville on March 9. The Predators entered that game with a 10-9-5 record. Nashville went 5-12-3 since then.

However you frame the story, it’s clear that the Predators have endured a miserable season.

As one might guess, offense was a problem – they’re averaging the least amount of goals per game in the NHL – but the team hasn’t been very strong on defense, either. Only two Western Conference teams – the Calgary Flames (141 goals allowed) and Colorado Avalanche (131 goals allowed) – have given up more goals in 2013 than the usually stingy Preds.

Even $7 million goaltender Pekka Rinne has had his struggles this season.

If there’s a bright side to look on, it’s that young players such as Colin Wilson and Gabriel Bourque are starting to become go-to guys on the team (at least when they’re healthy). GM David Poile might get a chance to add another blue chip talent with an unusually high pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, too.