The Predators had an under .500 record through the first 30 games of the season, which did not make GM Mathieu very happy. They were on the outside of the playoff race looking in and things were not looking up. He had some choice words for his players, needless to say. Since then, the Predators have only lost 2 of their last 13 games, accumulating 19 out of a possible 26 points in that span.
They are now sitting 6th in the West, 3 points back of the Red Wings and only 5 points back of the division leading Blues.
Asked what the difference was, GM Mathieu was quoted as saying "Dave Lewis has done a tremendous job lately with the lineup. He's done a lot of shuffling and seems to have figured out some solid line combinations for the rest of the year. The 3 forward line strategy that we had been employing to start the year has been dropped in favour of sending out 4 fresh lines of 11 players with only one forward double shifting instead of 3. This seems to have helped a lot as we had several guys go down to endurance related injuries."
"It has also become apparent that Mathieu Garon is our go-to-guy this year. We brought in Marty Gerber thinking he would split games 50-50 with Matty Garon, but Garon has stepped up his game and solidified his spot as the #1 in our minds."
"We firmly believe that we can still challenge for the division this year and we have no doubt that the Predators WILL make the playoffs."