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Game Six Win Was Gutsy, but Predators Must Be Better To Win The Cup

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Rinne is playing out of his mind, but the rest of the team needs to help him out.

Anaheim Ducks v Nashville Predators - Game Six Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images

Monday night was a wonderful night. The Nashville Predators advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals, nobody else got injured, and Corey Perry, Ryan “Sorry not sorry” Getzlaf, and Ryan “Am I in Johansen’s head yet?” Kesler all were sad.

Nevertheless, the Predators probably didn’t deserve to win Monday night. Thank goodness for Pekka Rinne and Colton Sissons playing unbelievable hockey.

The Anaheim Ducks out-shot the Nashville Predators 41-18 on the night, with the Predators only registering four shots on goal in each of the first two periods.

Courtesy of http://hockeyviz.com

Two points here: the Predators simply were dominated by the Ducks on the shot counter, although we already knew that. Second, see that section by the end of the first period? The Predators had a five minute powerplay during that point in time. Here’s more info on the Predators’ powerplay:

Courtesy of http://hockeyviz.com

Yikes.

The Predators simply never seemed to cleanly enter the Anaheim Ducks’ zone on the powerplay. It has been a problem since round two against the St. Louis Blues. By this point in time, one has to be wondering if the Blues found the blueprint to beating the Predators’ powerplay and other teams are copying it. It’s tough to practice a powerplay because the penalty killers on your own team know exactly what to do against you, but the Predators need to find some way over the next few days to gain entry into the opposing zone.

Moreover, for all of the hype that the Predators defense has been getting as shutting down opposing top lines, it didn’t look to be the case that way on Monday. Remember how great the Predators defenders have been at preventing opponents from getting into the slot? Pekka Rinne had most of his work come from the slot on Monday.

Courtesy of http://hockeyviz.com

When people talk about Pekka Rinne stealing this game for the Predators, this explains what they mean. It wasn’t 41 soft shots from the points and side boards that Rinne faced; it was 41 shots mostly coming from the area of the ice with the highest percent chance of going in. If it were 41 shots getting to Rinne from the walls and points, then the defense would have at least been playing well in their own zone. That was not the case on Monday.

In 5v5 situations, the Predators had a Corsi-for of 34.4% while the Ducks were at 65.6%. Putting up a sub 35% Corsi-for is a recipe for disaster, which is almost what happened on Monday night. They managed to keep high danger chances about even, but still forced their goaltender in too many tough situations: the Ducks had nine shot attempts in high danger areas, according to Natural Stat Trick.

The Predators more than earned their first ever Stanley Cup Finals berth and they more than deserved their first ever Campbell Bowl (and maybe should have touched it?), but they need to spend some time with a chalkboard and some x’s and o’s before game one of the Finals.