The offensive output was a great sight, but there are still concerns. It took a great response from the Nashville Predators to win their fifth in a row.
Times are exciting in Smashville! The addition of Kyle Turris, the play of Pekka Rinne, and the depth held within the roster has fans giddy. And, after an offensive onslaught displayed against the Washington Capitals, it appears the Nashville Predators are truly a contender for the Cup.
The win versus the Capitals was a thing of beauty. Players up and down the roster contributed. Kevin Fiala found the back of the net for the first time this season. Miikka Salomaki goal fueled the Predators to the win. Five of the six goals game during even strength play, which has been a weakness this season. The newly established second line of Fiala-Turris-Smith is providing energy and scoring the team needed.
However, it was not all great.
Get off my lawn
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I can hear it now. I am a bit old school when it comes to stats. There is nothing wrong with advanced stats, but I feel the often do not tell the true story. Take, for example, CorsiFor. If you look at the numbers from Tuesday night, the Predators dominated the first period but were dominated in the last two. For the game, the Capitals earned a higher CorsiFor rating (56.1%) than the Predators (43.9%). Of course, Corsi takes into account all shots taken. When a team is down, they are likely to put up more shot in order to catch up. Can’t score if you don’t shoot.
For me, the eye-test works well. During the first period, the Predators were aggressive. They skated as if they were on their toes, going after every puck. During the second period, it seemed to be on their heels a bit more. There was less movement, energy. This allowed the Capitals to get back into the game.
In the video above, the Capitals’ Alex Chiasson notches the game-tying goal. As you watch this video, notice Nick Bonino‘s position (in the red circle, bottom of screen). As the puck is played after a rebound, Bonino reacts late to a pass to Chiasson. The shot is free of interference. Had Bonino played the open man and the puck quicker, the shot would have been challenged.
Compare that to how the defense played in the third period. With the Capitals on the offensive, the Predators played each skater well. During the opening 3 on 4, the Predators held positions and kept passing lanes covered. As the puck rebounded off of Rinne, the Predators skated with the Capitals and got sticks in the way. Rinne came up with two great saves, but the shots were not clear.
If the Predators want to see more offensive output, they need to move. Too many time this season have they taken their foot off the pedal and let teams back into games. Fortunately, the Predators have won a few more of those games.
That may not be the case moving forward.