Power Play: Time to Panic?
Lately, Nashville can't score goals consistently and they can't win a game unless they score more than two goals. This has been going on for nearly two months now. Is it time to panic?
At least they're being consistent
The thing about Nashville grabbing the first lead of the game against the Flames on Tuesday night was two-fold: it was mostly a symbolic lead and it still felt very much like a scoreless game after one period.
Consistently over the last month, the Predators have easily outplayed the majority of the teams they have faced -- including out-shooting and out-chancing the competition across the full 60 minutes. Much like the results they've been generating, though, they're allowing opponents to climb back into the game, even the score and push for the win.
The craziest part about it? It's become normalcy. Unless Nashville can fix its broken record and actually start finding the back of the net on a regular basis, these massive amounts of opportunities they're getting won't mean much come April when the playoffs are just a pipe dream.
Penalty kill looking better
For a special teams unit that has stopped less than 75 percent of power play opportunities over the past month, anything better than stopping three of every four penalties can be considered a success.
That's why the work the penalty killers have done in the last three games has been vastly important for Nashville.
Killing 11 of 12 penalties in the same span, the Predators have done a solid job of making sure their penalty kill hasn't been the reason for losing games recently. More to the point, Nashville killed off a full five-on-three penalty midway through the second period of its game against Calgary.
Not too long ago that type of opportunity would have doomed the Predators. To be quite honest, it wouldn't have shocked me if Calgary would have converted on both chances. Yet, I've been surprised at how solid the penalty kill has been lately.
Time to press the panic button
There's only so many times you can sit down and say after a Predators game recently that it was "a tough loss", they "couldn't convert on chances" or just "bad luck".
When a team can't score goals, regardless of how many quality and high-danger scoring chances they're getting, they won't win very many games.
Out of the last 14 games for the Predators, nine of those have seen them net two or less goals. In those nine, Nashville has won a whopping zero.
In fact, Nashville only has three wins this season when scoring less than two goals -- all of which came in October, a month where they rattled off a 7-1-2 record to start the season.
To put that in perspective, the Predators haven't won a game with less than three goals since October -- which is fairly embarrassing considering how strong of a defensive back-end they boast. What's even worse is that Nashville has only compiled an 8-10-3 record since then.
Seven wins in the first month of the season and only eight wins since then with just about two weeks left in 2015.
If the bad breaks haven't corrected themselves yet, there's no reason to think it'll just magically fix itself before Nashville passes the point of no return.
Kris Russell, Calgary Flames -- Most times you wouldn't see Russell's name leading the way, however goal off of a great feed from Johnny Gaudreau early in the overtime period was spectacular. Russell had a diving Pekka Rinne in front of him and roofed it to where Rinne couldn't reach it. Game, set and match.
T.J. Brodie, Calgary Flames -- Brodie's equalizer midway through the second period came after Calgary began to place a mountain of pressure on Nashville, including a full five-on-three power play with nothing to show for it. It's what Calgary needed and Brodie delivered.
Cody Hodgson, Nashville Predators -- Hodgson made sure that when he was given the opportunity for a one-on-one chance with Ramo, he made it count. A perfect wrist shot early in the first period that beat Ramo on the penalty shot.