It has been an exciting start to the season for the Nashville Predators. While they are winning games, their power play has left much to be desired.
You can’t complain about the results. At least, not too much. Starting off the season 3-1-0, the Nashville Predators are tied atop the Central Division. Two road wins and a great 60 minutes against the Jets shows the Predators are for real.
There are several key components for why the Predators have been successful. Pekka Rinne is still playing at Vezina Trophy levels. Not only did he shut out the Jets on Thursday night, but he is also tied for fourth in high-danger save percentage (92.86) and third in goals saved above average (3.36).
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Viktor Arvidsson and Craig Smith have been the energetic players we expected. We have chronicled the exploits of Smith, but not Arvidsson. The gritty top-liner lead the Predators in primary points per 60 (3.74) and second in individual CorsiFor per 60 (17.45).
But, it is not all great. There have been a few defensive lapses and poor passing in the neutral zone. But nothing – absolutely nothing – has been as bad as the Predators power play.
Zero for Fifteen
The Nashville Predators led the NHL in penalties last season. Thankfully, their penalty kill was decent enough to hold off teams. This year, the team lead the NHL in penalties drawn. So far, the Predators are averaging 19 minutes of opponents penalties per game. You can thank the Jets for that high a number. They received 60 minutes in penalties on Thursday.
The 24 penalties drawn by the Predators produced 15 power play opportunities. A few of those were 5v3 advantages. What do the Predators have to show for it?
Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
Why is that? Glad you asked. The power play units have been on the ice for 26 minutes. They have generated 23 shots in that time. Only four high-danger chances have come from these moments. So, the Predators average less than a shot per minute, and 1 HDCF every 6 and a half minutes. Also, their opponents have 5 high-danger chances while shorthanded!
This is nothing new. The Nashville Predators struggled on the power play late in the season last year. Still, Peter Laviolette and his coaching staff have yet to change their ways. We witness the same drop pass and crowd the line initiation for the power play every time. Then, the puck is passed around the point from P.K. Subban and others. Ryan Johansen sets up for a one-timer at the left circle. No movement. No imagination.
These are the results on shots:
So, why no change? Why is Johansen the one taking the one-timer? Shouldn’t he be the one trying to generate the play? Why not let Kevin Fiala or Filip Forsberg take the shot? There is no movement around the net, allowing their opponent to just collapse the middle.
Honestly, this lays right at the feet of Laviolette. We are witnessing the same thing each and every time. Until a change in philosophy is made, we will keep averting our eyes when the power play comes on.