Nashville Predators: Some Scary Things


The Nashville Predators have started off the NHL season with a record of 7-1-1.  If they beat the Los Angeles Kings today they will equal their best start ever as a franchise.  You may think it would be pretty tough to find some scary things for the Predators, but after all it is Halloween.

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One scary thing is the aforementioned LA Kings.  After starting the season with three losses, they have reeled off six straight wins in a row. During that streak, they’ve outscored the opponents 18-6 and the last four were on the road. The Preds are on the second game of a West Coast swing and will have their hands full with the hot Kings.

Something that is not so scary is the Predators Power Play lately.  Everyone figured that they had it figured out when they started the season with four goals in their first 15 chances to keep the PP% over 25% and among the league leaders.  Since then they’ve only had one goal in their last 13 opportunities and dropped down to 17.9% and 16th in the league.  It was a problem last season and they don’t want to revert to that.

On the other hand, their Penalty Kill is truly scary for the opposition. They have only given up three goals in 26 short-handed tries which is fourth in the league.  The 26 times they’ve been short-handed is the third lowest in the league so they’be been stingy with their penalties too.

Speaking of stingy, the Predators defense is the league’s best, allowing only 1.89 goals against. Possibly the league’s best defensive core and a world class goalie in Pekka Rinne have only given up 17 goals in their nine games.  The LA Kings have only given up 18 though so it could be a low-scoring game today.

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That Predator defense has gone through nine games without giving up a first-period goal, the only team in the league who hasn’t. The league record to start the season is 12 games without an opening period goal.  They’ve also scored first in all but one game so far. Pretty scary for the opposition.

One scary stat for the Predators is their league-worst face off percentage of 44.4%. I’ve been reading some articles the past few days about how face off percentage isn’t that important, but I sure would feel better if we were closer to the middle of the pack. That stat is worse when you consider that Paul Gaustad is ninth in the league of players with over 15 face-offs a game with 56.3%.  Isn’t that something he can teach the other centers?

There is one “ghostly” stat that has come to pass. One center has been truly invisible, at least on the scoresheet. That is Cody Hodgson.  The young centerman was brought in to increase the scoring on the third line and is the only Predator player without a point that has played at least two games.  He has done some nice things and had chances, but he needs to get some points going soon.

The Central Division, as predicted is pretty scary too.  The Predators are on the verge of their best start in franchise history with only one regulation and one OT loss and they sit in second place to the Dallas Stars although the Preds have a game in hand.  There are only four points separating the Stars and the Blackhawks who sit in fifth place in the division.  It is going to be a dogfight in this division the entire season.

So there you have it, some Predators tricks and treats for your Halloween.  Put on your Terry Crisp mask and get ready for some spooky looking people at the game in Los Angeles today.  And those are the folks that aren’t even wearing a costume!  Some of those Californians can be pretty scary.  Here’s hoping the Predators can continue putting a scare into the rest of the league.