For most of the season, the Nashville Predators special teams lacked any power. Things have changed in recent games. It’s about time.
Don’t look now but the Nashville Predators have scored power-play goals in back-to-back games. They’re also no longer dead last in the NHL in overall power play percentage. I’m looking at you, Chicago! The man advantage has been a glaring issue for the first third of the season, but the Predators are showing signs of life recently. To who or what do we owe this pleasure?
Back on Track
As of my writing in the preview against the LA Kings, the Nashville Predators sported a 10.8 PP%. At that point, the team had only registered eight goals with a man advantage. The theme of that specific article was getting back on track. The Predators had lost three consecutive games and were just starting to deal with injuries. But they had an opportunity to return to Bridgestone and face a lowly Kings team in hopes of turning their performance around.
That’s exactly what happened. The Nashville Predators were successful on two of their four power play chances en route to a 5-3 victory. It’s easy to view this game as a turning point. In the team’s first 19 games they scored eight PPGs, and since the win over LA the Predators have matched that total in only 9 games.
Nashville now sits at 15.7% on the power play which is 26th out of 31 teams. However, there is still a lot to be desired. Compared to Tampa Bay who has one more PPO, Nashville doesn’t even come close to matching their successful 28.2 PP%.
If we view the 11/17/18 game as a turning point, we can also spot any before and after differences. What’s noteworthy is that before that game the top 8 players in iHDCF were forwards. Since then, Roman Josi leads the Nashville Predators in that category.
Josi, as well as Ryan Ellis, have consistently ranked high on the team in CF, FF, and SCF throughout the season. Because of the slew of injuries the Predators have been dealt, it seems those two have been a pinnacle of the power play. But it’s also worth mentioning that Mattias Ekholm had zero points before, and now he has four assists to his name.
While the power play goals Nashville has scored have primarily been by forwards, many thanks should be given to the defensemen who have generated those chances.
Maybe the Nashville Predators just needed to face the worst team in the NHL to figure out their power play. Since that game against the Kings, the team has doubled their PPGs in 10 fewer games. Or maybe the defense is simply stepping up.
Either way, the Nashville Predators power play has improved, and we like, we love it…well, you know the rest.