It has been a season to remember for the Nashville Predators. Well, mostly. With 35 games on the ice completed, what do the numbers say about the team?
So far, so good. At least that is what most fans of the Nashville Predators would say. Currently, the team sits second in the Central Division with 47 points. Good enough for fourth in the Western Conference as well. In all likelihood, the Predators will make the NHL playoffs yet again. But it won’t be easy.
When the team returns to play tomorrow, they will face the division-leading St. Louis Blues, followed by a home-and-home with Minnesota, and then a road game in Vegas. Not an easy start. And, with the team coming off a three-game losing streak, something has to give.
It is nothing to worry about, at least not yet. The Predators lost games 33-35 last season and look where they ended up. Of course, that does not ensure they will make it to the Stanley Cup Final again.
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I mean, they could. That would be awesome. But we have 47 games and three playoff series to go before we know that answer.
We all have our opinions on the season to this point. Mostly positive, I would guess. I share those positive thoughts even if I am a more pessimistic voice on the team here.
Opinions are fine but what do the numbers say? Let’s take a look.
So far on the season, the Predators are being outshot 1139 to 1050. That is a difference of 89 shots on the season. In terms of ranking, the team is 26th in the NHL in shots-on-goal. The low shot numbers with high goals scored creates the fourth best shot percentage in the league. However, being outshot means teams are getting chances to score. Can the Predators eliminate some of these opportunities?
According to Natural Stat Trick, the Predators have 254 high danger scoring chances this season. While that sounds high, it isn’t. It is the fourth lowest in the league. Nashville has converted on 33 of those chances, giving them a 12.99 shot percentage.
That is the goal differential for the Predators after 35 games. Considering last year was only +16 at season’s end, I would say they are off to a good start. I take that as a positive.
The Predators have 34 power-play goals on the season, which is tied for best in the NHL. Last season, they only had 49 such goals. This means they are on pace for 80 goals while on the man-advantage.
Sure, it may be the worst stat in hockey, but there is something to be said for it. Right now, Nick Bonino and Scott Hartnell post a -6 in plus/minus stat, the lowest on the team. Simply put opponents scored 12 more goals than the Predators when these players are on the ice. It should be noted that Bonino is starting in the defensive zone 70% of the time. Maybe that has something to do with it.
These are just some of the numbers that jump out at me. With 47 games to go, the story is yet to be completed.