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Predators first team eliminated from playoffs after Avalanche sweep

Predators first team eliminated from playoffs after Avalanche sweep

NASHVILLE, TN - MAY 9: Ryan Johansen #92 of the Nashville Predators skates away from a Colorado Avalanche goal celebration in Game Four of the First Round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena on May 9, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Game 4 wasn’t a cakewalk for the Avs. Even so, the Avalanche completed their sweep of the Predators, making Nashville the first team eliminated from the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche got out the broom with a 5-3 win over the Predators in Game 4.

Colorado now awaits the winner of the Blues - Wild series. Depending upon how that goes, the Avalanche could gain some valuable rest thanks to that sweep of the Predators.

Remaining schedule (2-3 games) for Blues vs. Wild (series tied 2-2)

Game 5: May 10, 9:30 p.m. ET - Blues at Wild (ESPN, SN360, TVA Sports)
Game 6: May 12, 9:30 p.m. ET - Wild at Blues (TNT, SN360, TVA Sports)
*Game 7 May 14, TBD - Blues at Wild (TBD)

Rather than creating pressure for Darcy Kuemper to possibly come back too fast in Game 5, he can take his time. The Avs dealt with their fair share of injuries during the season, as well, so this efficient sweep could be valuable for the Avalanche in the long run.

(Who knows which players might be nursing something minor from a nasty slash or a blocked shot?)

Avalanche sweep Predators, await Blues or Wild

Once again, Cale Makar proved too much for the Preds. He scored a goal and an assist, but could’ve had more, including on a breakaway against Conor Ingram.

During the third period, Filip Forsberg scored his first goal of the postseason to give Nashville its first lead (3-2) of the series. That lead only lasted about five minutes, then Makar’s underrated partner in crime Devon Toews made it 3-3.

Following that goal, Cale Makar set up Valeri Nichushkin for the sweep-clincher. After pulling off a dominant sweep of the Blues last year, the Avalanche once again won their First Round series in four by beating the Predators.

They ripped through early opponents like this Andre Burakovsky shot through a net.

After sweep, Predators enter cloudy offseason

Later on, PHT will look more deeply into the future of the Nashville Predators.

Let’s start a shorter version with a thought. Filip Forsberg’s first goal of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs could be his final one with the Predators. Instead of trading Forsberg at or before the 2022 NHL Trade Deadline, the Predators elected to keep the pending UFA.

It continues a trend of the Predators balking at trading certain members of their team, thus delaying and arguably diluting chances to accelerate a rebuild.

They opted against trading Mattias Ekholm last time, and Forsberg this offseason. If they can’t sign Forsberg to a contract, they could trade his rights, but those swaps tend to pale in comparison to the returns of a trade deadline rental.

Was it worth it? Well, the Predators overachieved during the regular season. Juuse Saros put together a season worthy of Vezina finalist consideration. Roman Josi has a strong chance at a second Norris Trophy. Forsberg soared, and Matt Duchene rebounded.

Yet, after all that, the Predators couldn’t avoid a sweep by the Avalanche. You can get some mileage about Juuse Saros’ injury, yet that excuse will resonate less during a postseason jarringly full of goalie injuries.

As you can see from this recent thread, they’ve signed so many long-term deals, it’s reasonable to ask if they have much room to rebuild. There’s a path -- wise or not -- to just keep trying.

Whatever path the Predators choose, they’ll need to process such a quick playoff exit.