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Back in a playoff spot, the Preds are ‘going in the right direction’

Chad Johnson, Viktor Arvidsson

Nashville Predators’ Viktor Arvidsson, left, from Sweden, celebrates his team’s goal as Calgary Flames goalie Chad Johnson looks away during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017, in Calgary, Alberta. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press via AP)


With four wins in their last five games, the Nashville Predators have moved back into a playoff spot.

Granted, the wins haven’t been all that convincing -- all four were of the one-goal variety, and they were outshot badly in two of them -- but with both P.K. Subban and Roman Josi on injured reserve, they’ll take the points any way they can get them.

The Preds beat the Flames, 4-3, last night in Calgary. In the process, they leapfrogged Vancouver and Los Angeles into the second wild-card spot in the West.

“We haven’t been playing picture-perfect games, but our effort the last handful of games here, I’ve really been pleased with and I think everyone to a man in this room is happy with,” center Ryan Johansen said, per The Tennessean. “It’s something we can keep building on right now because it’s a good time of year to heat up.”

The middling play of the Kings has helped Nashville move up in the standings. And the way things are going in St. Louis, the Preds could soon catch the Blues for third place in the Central. The Blues, who got blown out by Washington last night, are only two points up on Nashville, and the Preds have a game in hand.

Read more: There’s something off about the Blues

Now, all that being said, Nashville has to play tonight in Edmonton and Sunday in Minnesota. The Preds will be underdogs in each of those contests, so things may not look so rosy by the end of the weekend. But they’ve hung in there without Subban and Josi, and it’s possible that both defensemen could be back shortly.

“The mood’s positive,” said forward Craig Smith. “We’re going in the right direction, and that’s all you can ask for.”

Related: The good news and the bad news for Roman Josi