Cleat Geeks

NHL: What Is Wrong with the Nashville Predators?

During the current NHL season, the Nashville Predators (3rd in Western Conference with 94 points) have widely been one of the most dominant teams in the NHL. The Predators push as one of the elite teams shocked many experts midway through the season. Even more so, as they continued gaining ground from everyone, once they arrived at the top of the standings. The consensus at the start of the season was that they would solidify a playoff spot, having only missed last year’s playoffs by 3 points. However, the shock doesn’t stem from them holding a playoff spot, or because they’re contending. It has been because of the rate at which they had continued to dominate, game in and game out. Their ride has come to a screeching halt as of late in a big way.

Filip Forsberg

Nashville Center, Filip Forsberg currently leads all rookies with 55 points

Since Pekka Rinne returned on February 5th against the Anaheim Ducks, the Predators are 10-10-2, playing sub .500 hockey. If this isn’t startling enough, their poor record is proportionately caused by their last ten games, where the Predators are 2-7-1. Rinne is far from the main cause for the failure. In their last ten games, the Predators haven’t scored more than 3 goals in an outing, and they’ve only hit the 3 goal mark twice. The rest of the games have consisted of 2 goals or less. Team points leader, Filip Forsberg (55 points), is also currently in a drought; last night’s assist was only his fifth point in 17 games. It’s gotten so bad recently, that some are saying it’s the “Toronto Curse.” This trade occurred on February 15th that brought back former Preds Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs, whose woes have been more than highlighted throughout their dismal season.


Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette

Nashville Predators Head Coach: Peter Laviolette

The Predators are obviously off their game right now. They are set up as a score first team. They gain a lead and then suffocate their opponents defensively, but are also one of the few teams that are able to press the offensive zone as well, instead of sitting back like some teams must rely upon. Confidence has been the Predators strongest key, while the recent lack of confidence has been their Achilles heel. Their sense of urgency is causing Nashville to slip deeper and deeper into a hole. Even more devastating is the fact that their most recent loss against the Minnesota Wild (March 17th), marked the second game in a row that they led going into the 3rd period. Nashville’s Head Coach, Peter Laviolette, talked about the very same issues continuing to plague the team. “Tonight, I felt we could have been on the attack a little more, stayed in the offensive zone…, we started that way and then it went back and forth. We stopped pressing and were just looking to defend.”



Regardless of this current drought, and luckily for Nashville, all of the points they’ve amassed will allow them to figure things out without the worry of getting knocked out of playoff contention altogether. On top of that, their greatest ally may be the amount of time between now and the first round of the playoffs. One thing is for sure; talk is cheap and fans are becoming impatient, waiting for their team to put the pieces back together.

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