No one said it was going to be easy. The Nashville Predators struggle out of the gate each game, and it is a major problem.
Eight games into the season, and we are starting to see who the Nashville Predators really are this season. We knew they would be strong at home, as they typically are. But, the performance on the road is a bit troubling. Still, the Predators are building chemistry and putting themselves into a contending position.
It started off rough. A loss to the Boston Bruins, followed by a boxing match in Pittsburgh. But, close battles and rallies have put the Predators in a solid spot to start the season. There is one major issue, however, and it must be addressed. The issue? The first period.
Life moves pretty fast…but, the first periods seem to last forever for the Predators. Mostly, because of the penalties. However, opponents are dominating possession marks in the opening period of games. For example, in the opening game in Boston, the Bruins achieved a CorsiFor of 53.33% in the first period. Thus, the Predators finished with 46.67%. this covers all situations, though penalties do favor the team with the man-advantage. For the entire game, the Predators’ CorsiFor was 46%.
But, look at the home game versus the Dallas Stars. The 45.95% in CorsiFor further establishes the pattern. For those wanting only 5v5 numbers, the percentage drops to 43.48 in the opening period versus the Stars. Take a look at the chart below. All numbers are drawn from Natural Stat Trick.
47.62New York (R)
In five of the eight opening games, the Nashville Predators were dominated in possession. It was the third period in Chicago that sent the Blackhawks to victory. And some unfortunate mishaps against the Rangers doomed the Predators.
Of course, with less possessions comes less chances to score. So far, the Predators are being out-shot 80 to 64 in the first period. They are just not there and ready when role is called and the puck drops.
My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who thinks the Predators need to show up in the opening frame. Sure, they dominated possession stats versus the Rangers, but they were slow to the puck, missed rather easy passes and clears, or left opponents wide open in front of the net. Setting a standard in the first period takes pressure off of Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros.
Through eight games, the Predators have notched only one goal on the first period all season. The only saving grace is that opponents have only scored six goals in the first period as well. Regardless, better first period possessions will lead to more points. More points, more wins. Or so we hope.
If nothing changes, the Predators will say “the league bought it, they thought we were good!”