With a win over the Colorado Avalanche on Friday, March 16, the Nashville Predators are the first to clinch a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Preds have clinched a playoff berth. All four of those berths have been under head coach Peter Laviolette.
The Preds currently have 104 points and sit in first place in the league. Four points above second place Tampa, and 8 points above third place Boston. With players like Pekka Rinne, PK Subban, Filip Forsberg, and Roman Josi this Nashville team has the ability to go deep in the playoffs. Not to mention they acquired Ryan Hartman at the trade deadline and re-signed Mike Fisher for the remainder of the season. The Preds seemed to get a huge boost from the return of Mike Fisher and i’m sure they would love to capture the Cup for him in his final season.
Nashville is arguably the hottest team in the NHL right now, along with the Boston Bruins. Nashville has soared in the standings as of late and deserve to be the first team to clinch a playoff berth. If need be the Preds are ready to play on road ice. They have won 14 consecutive away games and have tied the franchise point streak during that time.
The Preds didn’t break out the bottles of champagne after being the first team to clinch. Defenseman Ryan Ellis says “Business as usual…back to work.” Ellis said there was a low key celebration and some pizza after clinching a spot but he said the Preds still have a lot of work to do. “The guys knew with a win tonight we would clinch and I think they fought hard for it,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. Laviolette praised his team but said there’s still plenty of work to be done before playoff time.
Nashville has been one of the league’s best teams for the past few seasons and has its eyes set on winning the Stanley Cup once again. There next goal is to win the Central Division and potentially win the Presidents Trophy by having the league’s best record.
Quotes taken from ABC News.