Nashville Predators: Craig Smith played like a crazy man against Rangers

(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images) /

In order to win consistently in the NHL, you need players giving their all. Luckily, the Nashville Predators have just the person on the second line.

For the first time since 2011, the Nashville Predators opened the season with a road victory. It was a solid team effort with players from all lines contributing in some way. But, as the numbers show, it was a hard fought game on both sides. Yet, the Predators prevailed with a 3-2 final score.

As a team, the Predators finished with 33 shots and killed off the only power play they faced. There were several key players in the victory. Colton Sissons gained two points for the night, earning an assist on P.K. Subban‘s blast and the tallied an empty-net goal to seal the game. Filip Forsberg made his presence felt, lacing a wrister by Henrik Lundqvist to open the scoring. Subban also contributed three hits and two blocks on the night; however, his lapse in defense allowed the Rangers to score an easy goal.

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There was one player on the team that played with high energy all night, applying pressure to the New York defense. That would be Craig Smith.

Stats don’t lie

When looking over the numbers for the game, you see how even the play really was between the Predators and Rangers. Nashville finished with a higher 5v5 CorsiFor rating at 52.34%, but New York earned a 52.63% FenwickFor rating. As for high-danger scoring chances, the Rangers bested their opponent, 14-10.

When you dig into the team numbers, you see how Smith impacted the game. While he was on the ice, the Predators allowed more total shot attempts, but the FenwickFor rating was 55.56%. Only Kyle Turris and Ryan Johansen were better, but they gained fewer shots on their own.  The only other forward above 50% rating after that was Kevin Fiala.

When looking at Smith’s individual stats, you see a greater impact. Smith led the Nashville Predators in shots (4), scoring chances (7), and high-danger chances (4) during 5v5 action. All four of his during this time were from high-danger areas.  His shot during a breakaway presented a perfect rebound for Fiala to pounce on.

Next. Preds squeak out 3-2 win over Rangers. dark

For the entire night, Smith earned 5 HDCF on 6 total shots, but scored one point. It could have been much more. Smith all over the ice the entire game. The Nashville Predators certain benefited from his play.