Viktor Arvidsson is putting together a near record breaking season for the Nashville Predators.

On Saturday, Arvidsson scored his 33rd goal of the season in only his 55th game. This put him in a tie with Jason Arnott (08-09) and Filip Forsberg (15-16) for the Predators single season record with three games to play.

Arvidsson’s goal was yet another “Arvy-hustle” like play. Picking off a pass in neutral ice while the Preds were killing a penalty, he then skated in on Sergei Bobrovsky and tied the game 1-1.

The Predators couldn’t deliver a key win at home against the Blue Jackets, but Arvidsson’s accomplishment last night is no less spectacular.

For one, Arvidsson is doing all of this despite missing 24 games with an injury. At his current .60 goals per game pace, if he’d played the entire season, he would be at around 48 or 49 goals and pushing for 50 in this final week. As it is, he’s merely pushing to set the single season scoring record despite missing almost 30% of the season.

As a measure of just how good Arvidsson has been, here’s the top five leaders in goals per game this season:

  1. Alex Ovechkin: 0.65
  2. Leon Draisaitl: 0.60
  3. Viktor Arvidsson: 0.60
  4. David Pastrnak: 0.58
  5. Auston Matthews: 0.58

That’s an incredible list of players to be associated with.

Not only could Arvidsson break the Preds single season scoring record with a goal this week, he is virtually a lock to secure the all time goals per game average for the Predators in a single season (minimum 10 games played):

  1. Viktor Arvidsson (18-19): 0.60
  2. Jason Arnott (08-09): 0.51
  3. Steve Sullivan (05-06): 0.45
  4. Filip Forsberg (15-16): 0.44
  5. Jason Arnott (06-07): 0.40

A remarkable season for a remarkable player.

GIF Me That Good Stuff

***See above. There is no other GIF that can beat that Viktor Arvidsson GIF***

Five Quick Thoughts

  1. This race for the Central is getting crazy. The Jets have the harder schedule, the Preds are the more inconsistent team, and the Blues are red hot and now only 2 points out. What a final week this will be.
  2. Are we finally convinced that Pekka Rinne should be the starter in the playoffs? I know Juuse Saros might have still been ill on Saturday, but he didn’t look great. And Rinne turned a corner in that win over the Penguins.
  3. Craig Smith with yet another 20-goal campaign, making that five for him. Really underrated contributor these last few years.
  4. Expect Austin Watson to be back with Nashville this week, perhaps even meeting the team in Buffalo on Tuesday. All he’s done is score four goals in two games with the Admirals, so he probably doesn’t need more conditioning.
  5. Dante Fabbro had a decent start to his NHL career. Most will remember the blueline stumble that let to Boone Jenner’s goal, but he finished with three shots on goal and showed some good signs throughout. Here he was after the game reflecting on his first career NHL start:

Let’s Do That Hockey

Tuesday 4/2 – 6:00 PM: Predators @ Sabres [FS-TN]

Friday 4/4 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Canucks [FS-TN]

Saturday 4/6 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Blackhawks [FS-TN]

Final Thought

The Predators missed a golden opportunity to gain ground on the race for the Central Division on Saturday. The Jets ended up losing to the Canadiens on home ice, leaving the door wide open for the Preds to take a 2 point lead in 1st (with the Jets still having one game in hand).

But the Preds laid another egg. Just like they did last Saturday when they got blown out 5-0 to the Jets in Winnipeg.

This is becoming somewhat of a theme for the Preds this season: coming up short in the biggest game of the season. In pivotal games down the stretch against important opponents, or in situations where they could take steps toward preferred playoff positioning, the Preds have faltered. Here’s a quick list of those games I’m talking about:

  • January 17th, losing 5-1 to Winnipeg on home ice
  • February 9th, losing 3-2 on the road in St. Louis
  • February 10th, the next night, losing 5-4 in overtime to St. Louis
  • February 16th, getting blown out 5-1 in Vegas
  • February 23rd, getting blown out 5-0 at home to Colorado
  • February 26th, losing 2-0 to St. Louis on the road
  • March 1st, losing 5-3 to Winnipeg on the road
  • March 23rd, getting blown out 5-0 in Winnipeg
  • Last night, losing 5-2 to Columbus at home

Sure, the Preds have had their share of impressive performances down the stretch as well. And they are 5-2-1 in their last 8 games, which is promising.

But if Nashville is going to have any shot in the playoffs against teams like St. Louis, Winnipeg, Colorado, or Vegas, they are going to need to figure out how to win those big games. And quickly.

— Stats via Hockey Reference. Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —