It's pretty hard to pick a single storyline from the Predators' 7-1 win over the Red Wings on Thursday night, but Viktor Arvidsson's birthday hat trick is a clear front-runner.
The new dad's 28th birthday was highlighted by his penalty shot goal that not only gave him the hat trick, but also marked the first time in franchise history a hat trick has been completed by a penalty shot goal. Returning from an injury that kept him out of Tuesday's game against Detroit, Arvidsson recorded six shots- four of which were tabbed as high-danger.
The Preds' current unprecedented hot streak has been made even more unbelievable by the ever-changing cast of rookies, no-names, and perpetual fourth-liners who have been charged with supplanting the team's rotating injured list. With most of the Preds' headlining roster missing minor-to-significant time this season, there have been 13 players called up from the taxi squad, five of whom made their NHL debuts upon being called up.
During the present 9-1-0 run, Preds' taxi squad members have accounted for 23 points with contributions from Eeli Tolvanen, Ben Harpur, Mathieu Olivier, Yakov Trenin, Jeremy Davies, Tyler Lewington, and Alex Carrier. Tolvanen joined the injured ranks after Tuesday's game and wasn't available Thursday night, but compiled four goals and six assists in his last nine games played.
Depending on who you ask, the Preds rocketing into a playoff spot may or may not have been abetted by their "easier" schedule over the past couple weeks, as they combed through games with the bottom four teams in the Central Division. With their tenuous and ever-ailing roster moving into a five-game rendezvous with Tampa Bay, Dallas, and Carolina, they will have to prove that their success isn't a fluke and that they are in fact able to thrive without Filip Forsberg, Ryan Ellis, Matt Duchene, and several others.