Do not write off the Nashville Predators just yet.
Thanks to a sensational 38-save effort from Pekka Rinne and a late third period goal from Kyle Turris they were able to collect a huge 2-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday evening to continue their climb for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
With Sunday’s win they now sit just one point back of the Calgary Flames and Arizona Coyotes (currently the two Wild Card teams in the Western Conference) for a playoff spot while having multiple games in hand on both teams. They still have two games in hand on the Flames and three in hand on the Coyotes.
The win completes a home-and-home sweep for the Predators over the Blues, improves their record against them to 4-0 on the season, and gives them their first three-game winning streak since late October.
For as bad and disappointing as the Predators’ record has been this season this is still a potentially dangerous team if they get in the playoffs. Their 5-on-5 performance for the season has been as good as any team in the league. Special teams and goaltending has been their biggest undoing.
On Sunday, the goaltending was there for them in a big way.
It was also a huge goal for Turris as he tries to get back on track during what has been a wildly disappointing season for him individually. He’s been playing more under new coach John Hynes, but the production still has not quite returned to where he or the Predators want it. He has just nine goals on the season and only four in his past 29 games. Still, his goal on Sunday was is his second in as many days against the Blues and came at the perfect time to help his team in the playoff race.
Rinne does not have to be as consistently good as he was on Sunday, but if he — and Jusse Saros — can just give them a little bit more than they did in the first half of the season the Predators are going to be a real handful to deal with down the stretch and in the playoffs — provided they get there.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.