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Looking Behind, Forging Ahead Week 5: Busy Times

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A short week with only one win out of a possible two. Harumph.

Ronald Martinez

Only two games appeared on the calendar this week, because we decided not to count the game against the Canucks. *shrugs* Not a whole lot to look at, but let's see what we can find.

The Stats

Last Week
Games Fenwick% PDO Off ZS % TeamGF TeamGA TeamG+/- TeamG% Faceoff % TOI
3 50.38 103.63 37.68 4 3 1 57.14 44.95 113
This Week
2 57.58 111.43 55 4 0 4 100 57.81 68.73
Season
10 52.87 104 47.56 14 7 7 66.67 47.9 388.05

Face-offs are slowly starting to trend up. Erm, at least we hope so. Kind of hard to tell after only two games. That PDO scares the crap out of me, by the way.

Look at that, Seth Jones and Anton Volchenkov were given some better zone starts, and it resulted in better number. Whoodathunk?

Matt Cullen certainly did provide a boost to the second line, and that was evident just by watching the game. Their numbers weren't terrible, but something did seem a little off. Hopefully that can continue through this next week. (Foreshadowing alert.)

Golden Player of the Week

  • James Neal - Two goals, one of which was a long-lost power play marker. What we're seeing with him is called "regression to the mean." Yes, he's benefitting from some great puck luck right now, but he wasn't getting any of that in the first few games of the season. He's also shooting like it's turkey season.

Not So Golden Players of the Week

  • Special Teams - Yeah yeah, they finally scored in Calgary but it still hasn't looked that great. The penalty-kill didn't bail them out either, and the Predators have some of the worst special teams units in the league.
  • Anton Volchenkov - Whether or not you agree with the length of the suspension or not, it was warranted. Volchenkov clearly hit Michael Ferland in the side of the head, and the Flames have announced he suffered a concussion as a result. We'll see how the team responds to losing a player.

Player to Keep an Eye On

  • Matt Cullen - His return to the lineup has been even more fantastic than any of us would have though. I don't think it's a coincidence Craig Smith scores four three goals immediately after he joins his line. The numbers are good, the results are good. Will they hold?

***

The annual CMA trip concludes with four games this week, including three in the division. Losing that Calgary game on Friday was certainly disappointing, but a winning trip is still within reach. Let's get it started with...

Sunday, November 2nd Nashville @ Vancouver

2013-14 Record Against: 1-2-0

One day, maybe we'll get an explanation for why the Preds hammered teams like Chicago and San Jose last year but struggled against the Vancouvers and Edmontons of the world. But that day is not today. The Preds did manage to eke out one victory against the Canucks last season and (I promise I read this like 4 times so I know it's true), it was their first win of the season when trailing after 2 periods. Snapped an 0-21-2 streak. The recap also says Nick Spaling scored a goal, so I guess the whole thing could be suspect...EVERYBODY knows he scored the first of his career just the other day.

Reasons to Boo the Canucks

Tuesday, November 4th Nashville @ Winnipeg

2014-15 Record Against: 1-0-0

Last time out was pretty successful, right? A 2-0 win, Pekka got the shutout, and James Neal scored his first goal of the season. If the Preds could just go ahead and run that one back again, that would be great.

Reasons to Boo the Jets

  • I don't want to pile on here...they've got it bad enough as it is. I wonder if they'll change the name when they relocate to Las Vegas in 2019?

Thursday, November 6th Nashville @ Dallas

2014-15 Record Against: 1-0-0

The first meeting was the Paul Gaustad Show, as #28 racked up a goal, an assist and a fight. Good times. Seguin and Co. were totally invisible, but Antoine "punchable face" Roussel did have a goal and FOURTEEN penalty minutes. So I guess that's something. As of Sunday, the Stars are a pretty weak 1-0-4 at home, so hopefully the Preds help them continue that trend.

Reasons to Boo the Stars

Saturday, November 8th Nashville @ St. Louis

2013-14 Record Against: 0-4-1

So...not many good times to be had here. The Blues finished with 111 points last year, and the Preds contributed more than their fair share. I guess the shootout loss will have to be the highlight, as it's as close as the Preds got to beating St. Louis all season.

Reasons to Boo the Blues

Predictions

Jason: I'm going with 2-1-1 for 5 points. Just surviving this two week trip is fine, and 3-2-1 overall would qualify.

Jon: 2-2-0. They are going to outplay each and every opponent, but only get rewarded twice. I blame the special teams.