Sometimes quantity is better than quality, but that was not the case on Wednesday night. The Nashville Predators will need to heed that advice.
In a game where the Nashville Predators should’ve crushed their opponents, Antti Niemi did the impossible. He kept an opposing team to less than five goals, two to be exact. Both of which on the powerplay. This game would be a bit of a red flag, had the Nashville Predators not crushed the Canadiens in terms of possession.
The Predators led in terms of Fenwick, Corsi, shots, and scoring chances. But there’s one category where the Predators got beat, in five on five and all situations. The Predators had seven high danger chances for with 12 against in all situations. Four for and six against when only considering five on five play. This has been a trend and cannot continue.
A high danger chance is one that comes within the slot or closer to the net. With that said, the Predators owned the perimeter of the zone. But they were unable to crack a usually loose and open Canadien’s slot. The Predators only had four high danger chances at five on five, pretty bad numbers against an objectively bad team. I feel safe saying that as the Canadiens sit seven points out of the second wild-card spot. Take a look at the chart below to see where shots were coming from.
Where the goals came from
The good news for the Nashville Predators was that both of their goals came from a high danger area. Although both were on the powerplay, an ability to put the puck to a high danger area is something to happy about. The moves made by P.K. Subban, Ryan Johansen, and Craig Smith were just as pretty as the two goals, but unfortunately, the chances didn’t happen enough.
While the Predators capitalized on the powerplay, they didn’t at five on five. While we should be celebrating the success, there should be a bit of worry in the back of our heads. This game could’ve gone totally different if the Canadiens had started an NHL caliber goaltender, let alone Carey Price (or who he’s been over the last few years).
Yeah, it’s a bit worrying. The Nashville Predators are actually the worst team in the league at generating scoring chances and high danger chances at five on five. The good news is that they’ve given up the fourth fewest high danger chances against.
The Nashville Predators need to start focusing on creating chances in the slot. This will mostly fall upon Johansen and Kyle Turris. Luckily for the Predators, Johansen is one of the best high danger passers in the NHL.
Things are on the upswing for the Nashville Predators, who have won 8 of their last 9. But the powerplay and puck luck won’t be there forever. The Predators need to start creating more offensive chances, even though they’re capitalizing on most of them now.