Surging Predators

Archived from 2002-03 season.

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After a horrendous start of the season, the Nashville Predators have come form nowhere to make a legitimate run for the first playoff-spot in team history.

Nashville was 4-11-4-4 after two months, but improved to 26-25-9-4 with a 5-4 victory over Chicago on Saturday. It marks the first time the team has been above .500 this late in the season.

"It's hard to explain," GM David Poile said. "We felt good coming out of training camp only to fall hard on our faces with two wins in the first 20 games (2-10-4-4).

"It was Murphy's Law that whatever could go wrong would go wrong. Anything from the ridiculous amount of injuries, to our younger players not coming through, and not getting the kind of goaltending we were used to getting. You name it, it happened. Right now, all those things I just mentioned are all in our favor. We're getting the breaks and the luck."

Victory over Chicago came with a big price, however. The Predators lost their leading scorer David Legwand for the rest of the season.

"This team's been all about adversity," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "This is just another chapter. We can't worry about it. We've got a lot of heart and focus."

Legwand suffered a broken right collarbone in the third period and will most likely miss the remainder of the regular season. He may be able to rejoin the team in April, if the Predators earn a playoff berth. "David has been a big part of our success," Trotz said. "He has played a lot of minutes. He has taken it to the next level as a player. There is so much there that we have just scratched the surface with David Legwand so far."

Trotz also penned his name into the record books on Saturday as he coached in his 392nd game with the Predators to pass current Nashville broadcaster Terry Crisp for the longest tenure for a first coach of an expansion team.

"My record is a tribute to all of the players here now and those who have been here in the past," Trotz said. "This is a team record, not my record."

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