The Nashville Predators lost two games last week that they probably should have won, one to the Sharks and one to the Oilers.
While players like Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Juuse Saros all played well enough to push the Preds to victory in those games, plenty of other players didn’t.
One of those was $9 million superstar P.K. Subban.
Unfortunately, this is becoming a trend for Subban early in this season.
Offensively, Subban has been fine. He is 2nd on the team in assists (7) and has a couple goals. But he has been one of the worst defensive players on the team so far according to Natural Stat Trick.
From their analytics, Subban has been on the ice for 10 goals allowed at even strength, the most of any player on the Preds. That’s not a great result for your top defenseman.
And it’s not just that he plays a lot of minutes. His rate of goals allowed per sixty minutes (3.09) is 3rd highest on the team and the highest among defensemen.
He’s also committed the most giveaways (11) on the team so far and his rate of giveaways per sixty minutes (3.39) also leads the team.
So what is going on with Subban? It’s tough to say.
He could be trying to do too much. He could be putting too much importance on offense and neglecting his role on defense. Or he could just be getting really unlucky (he does have the worst PDO among Preds defensemen and is 20th on the team in on-ice save percentage).
Earlier this season, after a 3-0 loss to Calgary, Subban said it was the worst game of his career. But he’s been only marginally better, at least defensively, since that loss.
For a guy with as much talent and skill as he has, it is noticeable when he doesn’t quite have it on the ice. When he tries to make too much happen in the defensive zone and causes a turnover, people notice.
Usually Subban makes up for any defensive woes with his work in the offensive end. But recently we’ve seen too much of the former and not enough of the latter.
For the Predators to return to league dominance, it’s important that Subban turn his game around and get back to playing like a Norris Trophy finalist.
GIF Me That Good Stuff
KT’s OT winner earns the GIF of the week.
Kyle Turris with a clutch OT goal to win it for the #Preds.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) October 26, 2018
This Week’s Numbers
- 14 – the number of points for Filip Forsberg in the team’s first 11 games. Forsberg in the running for the Hart Trophy?
- 4 – the number of consecutive starts for Juuse Saros, the most in his NHL career.
- 20 – the number of home losses for the Predators since the start of the 2017-18 season, including the playoffs.
- 34 – the number of home wins for the Predators (incl playoffs) during that same time.
Let’s Do That Hockey
Tuesday 10/30 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs. Golden Knights [NBCSN]
Thursday 11/1 – 6:30 PM: Predators @ Lightning [FS-TN]
Saturday 11/3 – 7:00 PM: Predators vs Bruins [FS-TN]
Why are the Preds losing so much at home?
This is a question I’ve seen pop up on Twitter and Facebook, so I decided to look into it’s veracity.
Before doing the research, I had my doubts. I figured it was just recency or selection bias that could explain this criticism. That fans were either placing emphasis on the most recent result (a home loss, in this case) or the only games that they attend (presumably most Preds fans are attending home games) to make their assessment.
But it reality, the fans are right.
Since the start of the 2017-18 season, the Predators have lost more games at home than they have on the road. They’ve gone 34-20 at home and 34-18 on the road over the past 106 games.
It’s a slim margin, but it’s a trend nonetheless.
I can’t think of a specific reason why this might be happening, but there are some interesting theories that have been thrown around. That the home crowd isn’t as voracious, with many of the rowdier fans having been priced out of a home ticket. That fans have become complacent with the regular season and are waiting for more important playoff games to get loud. That the catfish installed in the lower level are cursed.
Whatever it is, I think they only thing to be worried about is what the Predators themselves do with this information.
Last year, the Predators stated goal at the start of the season was to get home ice advantage in the playoffs. They achieved that goal, and then went 3-4 at home in the playoffs, losing in the 2nd round to the Jets.
If the Nashville Predators still think that home ice is the most important regular season achievement, but then don’t do anything to improve their actual play on home ice, I think we can expect more home losses to pile up.
— Featured Image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —