On Feb. 26, the Predators were the best team in the NHL and led the Central Division by nine points. Over the following six weeks they slumped, beginning with a six-game losing streak that corroded their sizable cushion.
The tumble down the standings finally caught up to the Predators on Thursday in a 4-2 loss to the Wild. Coupled with the Blues' win against the Blackhawks, Nashville officially squandered its chance at the franchise's first division title.
"We were first in our league six weeks ago and we weren't flying under the radar anymore," said defenseman Seth Jones, whose first-period goal gave Nashville a 2-0 lead. "Teams were going to come out and play us like we were first in the league and I don't think we stepped up and did a great job of accepting that pressure."