Nystrom's positive influence might have cost Predators a playoff spot

Eric Nystrom wanted to help the Nashville Predators get back to the playoffs.

He joked on Monday that he might actually be the reason they missed out on the postseason for a second straight year.

The Predators finished three points behind Dallas, which earned the last Western Conference wild card spot and snapped a streak of five straight seasons without a playoff berth, the longest among this year’s 16 playoff teams.

Nystrom spent the previous two seasons with the Stars.

“I say I took all the young guys under my wing and taught them a few things and helped them win,” Nystrom said. “It’s great to see them. They’re some of my good friends. I’m happy for them but at the same time, I won’t be watching.”

Eleven of this season’s 16 NHL playoff teams also made it in 2013. A look at how long it has been for the other five since they competed for the Stanley Cup:

5 seasons – Dallas
4 seasons – Columbus
3 seasons – Colorado
2 seasons – Tampa Bay
1 season – Philadelphia

The Predators earned five points in their five meetings with the Stars this season. When they needed them most, though, the points did not come.

Nashville played Dallas twice (both on the road) in the final eight games and managed just one point. The first meeting was a 7-3 loss on March 28 and the second was 3-2 shootout loss on April 8 that officially eliminated the Predators from playoff contention.

“We had two games against Dallas, which we figured was the team that would make the playoffs – which it was,” general manager David Poile said. “We said these are two games, you take those as wins and go from there. We played them, lost 7-3 the first time and then they beat us in a shootout in a game that was really good. You have to win those games.

“Those are the last two most important games and we didn’t win them.”

Blame it on Nystrom.