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Looking Behind, Forging Ahead: Week 3

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COMING TO AN ARENA NEAR YOU!!!!
COMING TO AN ARENA NEAR YOU!!!!
Jonathan Daniel

Well, things could have gone better last week, but they certainly could have gone worse. Eight of a possible 10 points on the year? Still no regulation loss? Yes, please. Also, this looks pretty cool right now.

The Stats

For this week, we'll look at all five games of the season and how the team/players did during 5v5 play when the score was close. (When the game was within one goal in the first two periods and tied during the third.)

Games Fenwick% PDO Off ZS % TeamGF TeamGA TeamG+/- TeamG% Faceoff % TOI
5 52.33 101.85 50.86 6 4 2 60 46.2 206.2

So far the Predators are a better possession team than they were last year. Calgary and Chicago have been the only teams to win the shot game at evens this year. The Jets got most of theirs on the power play.

The team's PDO is also in the relatively sustainable range, which means they aren't benefitting from monstrous amounts of luck. It's hard to judge after only five games, but at least for now we know the team isn't getting points because everything is going right for them. That's good news for those hoping they can keep up this type of play.

The most noticeable thing is how horrid Nashville has been in the dot to start. The team was one of the best in the league last year and is currently one of the worst in close situations. (They are about even in all situations, which still needs to improve.) Not having Mike Fisher and Matt Cullen definitely play a part in that, so when they start assimilating back into the lineup, expect that to increase. Once that happens the possession could see an uptick as well. *crosses fingers*

As for the individual players...

Name Games P Corsi% Off ZS % PDO TOI
Ellis 5 1 64.41 65.71 101.24 67.1
Ekholm 5 0 63.79 65.71 98.7 67
Wilson 5 1 62.89 66.67 107.69 62.3
Jokinen 5 0 58.43 66.67 104.35 55.4
Jarnkrok 5 0 56.63 63.64 100 50.1
Ribeiro 5 2 53.23 60.98 90.67 63.1
Smith 5 2 51.82 67.86 108.82 52.8
Forsberg 5 2 51.3 62.5 110 52.1
Bourque 5 0 51.69 53.12 82.35 47.3
Neal 5 0 51.26 63.64 83.33 59.1
Beck 2 1 50 0 150 18.3
Roy 5 2 50 64.29 106.9 53.5
Stalberg 2 0 43.33 60 91.67 16.8
Jones 5 1 47.37 25.93 101.76 54.5
Clune 1 0 14.29 0 100 5.5
Volchenkov 5 1 46.74 25.93 101.76 53.6
Weber 5 2 46.84 53.7 104.94 86.2
Nystrom 5 1 40.35 3.85 116.67 41.4
Gaustad 5 2 39.62 7.14 115.38 38.9
Josi 5 0 44.81 53.7 102.94 85.1

As expected, Shea Weber and Roman Josi are getting the most minutes against the toughest competition. They're also getting more offensive zone starts compared to last year - they started in the defensive zone more than any other defenders.

Now, Seth Jones and Anton Volchenkov (Sethchenkov?) are being leaned on for those, by a ton. The disparity between them and the other pairs is actually kind of incredible. They face the easiest competition, though, so their performance is something to keep an eye on as the weeks go by, as they are just "meh" right now.

Ah, and look at that awesome PDO from Eric Nystrom and Paul Gaustad.

Other than that, there are some incredibly good numbers that are pegged to come down a bit. (Looking at you, third line.) You'd hope those around the 51% mark don't fall too hard, but we'll wait to digest them until next week.

Golden Players of the Week

  • Mike Ribeiro - The first of the free agent class to pot a goal, Ribeiro had himself a three-point week. Each of those were pretty significant: his first goal broke the tie against Calgary, his next goal(a beautiful deflection from a Seth Jones shot) stood as the game-winner against Winnipeg, and his primary assist on Weber's goal tied the game.
  • Pekka Rinne - How about that shutout? Rinne has been playing lights-out hockey so far, sporting an unworldly .948 SV% and a GAA of only 1.22 in his four starts. Just how much work the Finnish netminder is going to get this season is unknown, but it seems he'll give his team every chance to win as long as he's between the pipes. If anyone was concerned about his health, put those fears to rest.
  • Colin Wilson - We shouldn't get too ahead of ourselves just yet, but both of Wilson's assists were on game-tying goals, and you could argue his tertiary assist on Ribeiro's deflection was the most important part of that play. He also wasn't on the ice for a single goal against, one of only two other players that can say that for the week. (Filip Forsberg and Calle Jarnkrok were the others.)

Not-So-Golden "Players" of the Week

  • Buffalo Wild Wings - You'd think the Official Away Game Sponsor of the Nashville Predators wouldn't have to be harassed to put a Saturday night game on. You'd be wrong.
  • The power play - Two goals in sixteen tries isn't the way to start the season. Granted, they've had the seventh fewest opportunities in the league, but the power play has looked mediocre at best, and downright dreadful at worst. Between this and face-offs, the Predators still have plenty of room to improve.

Player to Keep and Eye On

  • Viktor Stalberg - Now that's he's returned and gotten two games under his belt, we should start to see if Peter Laviolette's system is going to help him. He hasn't looked out of place on the second line, so this week will help decide how he fits into the lineup.

***

Another 3 game week, all back in the friendly confines of Bridgestone Arena...

Tuesday, October 21st Arizona @ Nashville

2013-14 Record Against: 2-0-1

Five out of six possible points for the Preds last season against the Phoenix Arizona Coyotes. This will be Mike Ribeiro's first game against the team that bought him out after last season. Wonder if he'll be amped for that one? Oh, and how did we miss out on that 6th point? Sorry in advance.

Reasons to Boo the Coyotes

  • They beat us in the 2012 playoffs. We certainly helped them do it, but still.
  • Make sure to say thanks to Martin Erat. Hope you're wearing a Forsberg jersey when you do.

Thursday, October 23rd Chicago @ Nashville

2013-14 Record Against: 4-1-0   2014-15 Record Against 0-0-1

These bozos again? Facing the Blackhawks twice in less than a week is no fun, but I guess we gotta play 'em sometime. As this is a weekday game, we probably won't see the hoards we would on a Saturday night, but you'll still need a calculator to count all the Griswold jerseys. Can't do it by hand. Since we lost last night, let's take a look back at happier times.

Reasons to Boo the Blackhawks

Saturday, October 25th Pittsburgh @ Nashville

2013-14 Record Against: 0-2-0

Man, it doesn't get any easier, does it? Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling come to town for the only time this year, plus it's James Neal bobblehead night! I don't know about you, but I can't imagine my life without one. Gonna clear some wedding photos and whatnot off the mantle to make room.With the Preds losing both games to the Pens last year, there aren't a ton of highlights, but the home game in March featured the return of a certain goaltender we all know and love.

Reasons to Boo the Penguins

Predictions

Jason: 2-1-0. I know it doesn't seem possible, but we WILL lose a game in regulation this year. Chicago will be one of the wins.

Jon: Like Jason said, that first "real" loss of the year is coming. I'll be the stormy little raincloud this week: win against Arizona, shootout loss to Chicago, regulation loss to Pittsburgh by a score of 4-2. So 1-1-1 on the week, then the Preds will have plenty of time to regroup and beat the snot out of Canada next week.