You have to be careful and proceed with caution when trusting the Nashville Predators, but it looks like they’re showing gradual improvement in a key area.
It’s been a sore spot all season for the Nashville Predators with their defense, and most notably the third pairing.
For the Predators to have any chance at not only making the playoffs, but actually getting past the first round, they have to get tighter defensively and make things easier on Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne.
It’s only two games, and against the same team, but the Predators may have found something worth noting with the combination of Korbinian Holzer and Jarred Tinordi.
Are they finally fixing the weaknesses?
We still have a small sample size to dissect, but I think the Predators have something they can run with the rest of the way. It may not be perfect, but it’s probably the best we’re going to get in this department.
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One thing I absolutely love that I’m seeing from Holzer is he’s bringing a grit and physical presence that this team lacks as a whole.
You don’t want every player on your team to play this way, but you certainly at least want a player or two who brings this element to their game. Especially on the third pairing defensive pairing.
A lot of us, including myself, didn’t think much of the trade deadline acquisition of Holzer. The move that gave up Matt Irwin didn’t really move the needle much one way or the other.
This development, although in its early stages, leaves me with some hope over the last 14 games of the regular season for the Predators, and hopefully beyond that in the playoffs.
Reason for hope
The reason I’m not drawing any sweeping conclusions is due to it only being two games since Holzer has been inserted into the starting lineup, and it’s against the same team.
And we can’t forget about what Tinordi is doing, either. He’s been in the lineup for a while now and is trying to make the most out of his role on this team.
Tinordi is taking on a role similar to what Holzer is going to bring, which is grit, physicality and muscling up opponents. Nothing flashy or fancy, but filling in a need the Predators have lacked on many nights.
Despite playing much fewer games than many of his teammates, Tinordi is now almost in the top-ten on the team in blocked shots with 35, and would probably be near the top if he had played the entire season.
Here’s what Fox Sports Tennessee analyst Chris Mason had to say about Tinordi after yesterday’s 1-0 shutout win over Dallas:
Another gem @WillyD1025
1. Juuse Saros is SICK. Talk amongst yaselves. 🔥🔥🔥
2. Jared Tinordi just gets it. The way he stands up for his teammates & physically dominates made a huge impact in this game 💪
— Chris Mason (@cmace30) March 7, 2020
It’s exciting to see guys out there trying to make an impact on the weakest areas of the team, which has mainly been penalty killing, getting into the dirty areas, blocking shots and just not making it easy for the opposition to skate into the high-danger areas.
Here’s a highlight courtesy of Fox Sports Tennessee on Holzer getting into the shooting lanes to block shots, and help out his goaltender:
— FOX Sports Tennessee (@PredsOnFSTN) March 7, 2020
So with that said, I think it’s just an area worth watching closely as John Hynes should keep this two together for the rest of the way out, meaning we may not see Yannick Weber or Dan Hamhuis too much more this season.
It’s not just the superstars of the team that need to be bringing it every game. Bottom line players like Holzer and Tinordi are very critical to making the Predators a worthy playoff opponent down the stretch.
Let’s see how this all unfolds, but I have some newfound hope that things are getting addressed.