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3 Reasons for Nashville Predators Elimination From 2021 NHL Playoffs

Despite a great run to finish out the regular season, the Nashville Predators playoff run lasted just 6 games. Here are three reasons why.

Last Thursday, a potential Cinderella story was ended. The Nashville Predators, who appeared to be a lottery team through the first portion of the 2020-21 season, were able to go on a very hot stretch to finish out the year and were able to secure the fourth and final playoff spot in the Central Division.

Though they did enter the playoffs as one of the leagues hottest teams, it was clear that they were going to have a tough time getting past the first round given that they were matched up against the Carolina Hurricanes, who were just two points shy of first in the entire league. As many expected, the Canes proved to be too much to handle for the Preds, as despite a valiant effort they were eliminated in six games. Here are the three main reasons they failed to advance.

Related: 3 Reasons for Florida Panthers Elimination From 2021 NHL Playoffs

3. Injury Troubles

While it certainly wasn’t the main reason they lost, not having Viktor Arvidsson in their lineup certainly hurt the Predators, who lack offensive producers as it is. Though the 28-year-olds numbers have dropped off in recent years, he has plenty of talent, proven by his 34 goals in just 58 games during the 2018-19 season. His team certainly could have used some of both the skill and grit he provides when in the lineup.

The Predators managed just seven goals in the four games they lost this series, proving how badly they needed some offensive help. While they did have all their other regular forwards in the lineup, guys like Filip Forsberg and Eeli Tolvanen, who produced well during the season but missed time with injuries late in the year, did not appear to be at 100 per cent.

2. Preds Powerplay Problems

A crucial part of this series came down to the Predators lack of productivity on the powerplay. They managed to score on just three of a first-round leading 26 opportunities, which gave them an ugly success rate of just 11.5 per cent. The only team who has struggled more in the postseason is the Montreal Canadiens, who lack high end offensive talent themselves.

Filip Forsberg Nashville Predators
Filip Forsberg

This was nothing new for the Predators, who struggled on the man advantage during the regular season as well, finishing 23rd throughout the league at just 17.6 per cent. Though they have some skilled forwards in guys like Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen, and Mikael Granlund, they struggled throughout the entire year and ultimately weren’t good enough in the playoffs to help their team advance.

1. Outclassed by Hurricanes

While the two points made above did factor into why the Predators failed to advance, the biggest reason is that they simply are just not good enough. While their blueline, led by Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm, is very solid, they lack elite talent up front, especially when compared to a team like the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes have a ton of talent on the back end, but even more so up front with guys like Sebastian Aho, Vincent Trocheck, Teuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov, and Martin Necas. These five players, along with many other solid pieces the Canes have, proved to be too much for the Predators, who relied heavily on goaltender Juuse Saros to make the postseason in the first place.

Change Needed

Despite a great run to close out the regular season, this Predators team is not nearly as good as they were seasons ago. They desperately need to find a star forward who can put up points this offseason, as the only player doing that for them on a consistent basis right now is Forsberg. If they are able to do that, the playoffs are very much a possibility again next season, and perhaps a longer run as well.

Next: The Maple Leafs Expect Changes: What Will They Be?



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