The Nashville Predators just finished up a rather successful four game road trip, bringing home seven of eight possible points and collecting huge wins over the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, and Boston Bruins.
But while the team slowly begins to climb out of the hole it dug itself back in November, an old nemesis has returned to haunt the Nashville Predators.
The power play.
— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) December 23, 2019
Yes, folks. While it seemed the power play was “fixed” early in the season, the Preds’ power has been nearly as ineffective in the last two months as it was all of last year. Since starting the season “red-hot” at a success rate of nearly 20 percent, the struggles of last year have returned. The unit has scored only 11 goals in its last 81 chances, which is dead last in the league over the last 23 games.
After spending so much time fixing the power play (and hiring a third coach to presumably do the fixing), the Preds still find themselves at the bottom looking up.
The problems are still the same as they were last year. The Preds have trouble entering the zone, difficulty setting up the offense, a lack of precise, creative passing through the dangerous areas of the defense, and an inability to generate shots from the slot. They continue to rely on shots from the point to get the job done, which are frequently low percentage chances that can be easily blocked or saved. They also do not handle the defensive pressure well and often leave themselves vulnerable to shorthanded chances.
That paragraph is almost an exact description of last year’s power play and yet it works perfectly for this year’s unit as well.
There is some slight good news in that this unit is hampered a bit by some unlucky shooting. Though the Preds are an average team in generating shot attempts and high danger chances on the power play, they are 26th in the league in shooting percentage. This will more than likely go up a bit, or at least return to league average.
But even if the shooting percentage on the power play goes up, there’s still not enough chances being generated for a team that has such talented passers and playmakers. Guys like Ryan Johansen, Matt Duchene, Mikael Granlund, and Roman Josi simply have to play better on that unit. So much of the power play is in generating momentum and making accurate passes at the right time. There’s not enough of that happening at the moment.
Can the power play improve by the end of the year? I’m not sure. We waited all season last year for the power play to improve and it never did.
GIF Me That Good Stuff
Roman Josi is absolutely on fire right now. Six goals and one assist in his last four games, including a couple of incredible individual efforts. Here’s one right here:
Six goals in four games.
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) December 22, 2019
Preds Quote of the Week
“Nobody on this team was happy with the way we were playing and the position we were in. We’re still not happy where we are in the standings, so we’ve got to keep pushing.”
-Roman Josi, after the Preds’ 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Let’s Do That Hockey
Hey, remember when the Pittsburgh Penguins were one of the Nashville Predators’ biggest rivals? We will get a double dose of that rivalry this week.
- Monday, December 23rd vs Arizona Coyotes (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Friday, December 27th vs Pittsburgh Penguins (7:00 PM; FS-TN)
- Saturday, December 28th @ Pittsburgh Penguins (6:00 PM; FS-TN)
In this episode of the Preds NashCast, Link and I wrap up 2019 with a “Best & Worst” list for the Preds this year. It wasn’t all that difficult to come up with examples for each, as it was a pretty eventful year for the local hockey team.
Give it a listen here:
On the ice, the Nashville Predators wrap up 2019 with a back to back against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which will be a nice test for them before the Winter Classic on January 1st. I will be at the Cotton Bowl to bring you the latest on the first ever Preds’ outdoors game, including live pre-game and post-game shows on Periscope. See you in Dallas!
— Featured image via Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports —