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Trotz: ‘This group has that special feel to it’

At a local establishment on Tuesday night, with the Predators trailing 3-0 to the Wild in the second period, the waiter looked at me and said, shaking his head, “I think this one is over.” My response? “Nothing is ever over with this Predators team.”

Not that I actually thought the Preds would end up winning that game at that point in time – you just simply can’t count them out of any game.

For the first 50 or so minutes of Tuesday’s game in Minnesota, the Preds looked out of it; they weren’t in sync and didn’t have much flow to their game. Nothing was going their way.

When Brandon Yip scored to cut Minnesota’s lead to 4-2 with just over 10 minutes left, you sensed the tides were turning. Whether or not they got one or two points, you felt the Preds were at least going to make it interesting.

There’s just something about this team that, when they pick up steam within a game, nothing can stop them. Just ask the teams that have watched the Preds mount a comeback on them this year to win a game they had no business winning – which is exactly what happened Tuesday.

Coming back from late deficits has become the norm this season. As Barry Trotz would say, it’s in their DNA. Seven of the Preds’ 31 wins have come when they’ve trailed in the third period. Some, like Tuesday, have been more dramatic than others; the comebacks against Columbus in December stick out like a sore thumb.

The Preds, who now sit in fourth place in the Western Conference, never believe they are out of a game, which separates this year’s team from years past.

“We’ve had some pretty good teams here. I’ve been very excited with some of the teams we’ve had,” head coach Barry Trotz said on Monday afternoon. “This one has a special feel to it. I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but this group has that special feel to it.”

Before you could blink, the Preds and Wild were tied at 4-4. Before overtime could allow both playoff contenders to grab a point, Mike Fisher scored with 20.8 seconds left on the clock. They did it again. In a span of five minutes (real time), the Preds went from opening the unofficial second half with a loss to having two points in their back pocket as they escaped St. Paul with a win. As many said on Twitter: Unbelievable.

As unbelievable as that victory was for the Preds, it was totally believable when you think about the comebacks they’ve had all year long.

As I left the restaurant Tuesday, with another comeback victory under the Preds’ belt, their 13th win in the last 15 games, the waiter stopped me and said, “You were right about the Preds.” My response? “No, Barry Trotz was right.”

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