Nashville Predators Are Proving They’re Not One-Dimensional Team

Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators center Yakov Trenin (13) celebrates his goal against the New Jersey Devils during the third period at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Nashville Predators streaking to four wins in a row, they’re starting to show that they’re not just a rugged team that can’t score many goals.

For the past few seasons the Predators have been known primarily as a defensive team that has to win on elite goaltending due to not having enough offensive playmakers to win high-scoring games.

While the Predators still shouldn’t be confused as an offensively elite team among the best in the NHL, they are making noticeable progress over this past six-game stretch. They’ve won five of those six games.

Even more impressive, the Predators have scored four-plus goals in four of their last six games, and in the 2-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, still managed to amass 42 shots on goal.

What’s fueling the Nashville Predators offensive surge?

What’s the key to seeing this uptick in offensive action for the Nashville Predators? There’s multiple reasons to identify, but the one that sticks out most to me is simply team chemistry growing. You’re seeing more consistent line combinations from Head Coach John Hynes, which is such a welcoming sight.

Let’s talk first about the Filip Forsberg/Mikael Granlund/Matt Duchene line. The Predators finally have a potent line worthy of drawing the full attention of the opponent. You’re seeing all three players thrive offensively and with strong chances to set some new Predators franchise records this season.

According to, the Forsberg/Granlund/Duchene line is eighth in the NHL among forwards in expected goals for per 60 minutes. They’re in elite company with lines featuring Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews and Sydney Crosby. They’re even ahead of lines featuring Brayden Point, Johnny Gaudreau and Kyle Connor.

This development of a high-powered top line has really helped fuel the Predators to outperform many people’s preseason expectations for them.

Not to be overlooked is another consistent line combination that has developed, and this is one no one probably saw coming unless they have a crystal ball. That’s the line featuring Philip Tomasino, Nick Cousins and Tommy Novak. Yes, you’re reading that correctly. A line featuring two rookies in Tomasino and Novak is producing high quality offensive chances.

Not to mention, Cousins has never been confused as a reliable offensive contributors during his time with the Predators. But yet here we are as this line is seventh among forwards in expected goals for percentage, per

So the development of these two consistent line combinations is a main factor into why the Predators are suddenly showing some offensive punch, and not just a scrappy defensive team that has to win games ugly. Although they can still do it that way, too.

Next. Tracking the Biggest Storylines from Nashville Predators Season. dark

Other factors for the improvement offensively

Look, the Predators are showing mild progress in terms of finishing scoring chances and finally seeing pucks in the net. They’re up to 17th in the NHL in goals for per game. Last season the Predators were 22nd in this category.

Another factor into why the Predators are becoming a more balanced team is they clearly know their identity and preach not shying away from it. Hynes, whether you think he’s the long-term answer or not, is finally starting to put his stamp on the team after having two disjoined seasons due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Predators power play has cooled off a bit recently after being all the way up to No.2 in the league, but it remains vastly improved from recent seasons where they were near the bottom.

This development of the Predators getting scoring contributions up and down the lineup can easily end up being the difference-maker into making the playoffs for an eighth-straight season.

Trending. Some David Legwand Franchise Records About to Fall?. light

The Predators have eight players with five goals or more, which is rather impressive this early in the season. Duchene leads the way with 13 goals, while Forsberg has 11 and Roman Josi has nine.

And then how about

Eeli Tolvanen

finally seeing his puck luck turn around? After having a dismal and unexplainable 1 percent shooting percentage, he’s now scored a goal in four-straight games. Yet another offensive weapon emerging for the Predators:

This latest win for the Predators over the Devils illustrates perfectly how they can play their rugged style for a while, but eventually they’ll come at you in waves on offensive rushes by forcing giveaways and laying out a lot of hits. Predators had 34 hits and forced eight Devils giveaways on Friday night.

Speaking of offensive balance, this win over the Devils was without their leading goal scorer Duchene, and also an important depth piece in Colton Sissons who was a last second scratch.

I had a low ceiling for this Predators team in the preseason due to not being a believer in what they would be able to manufacture offensively. I thought they were destined to be one of the lower scoring teams in the league, keeping them from ultimately making another run to the playoffs.

As of now, just 27 games into the season, I stand corrected. The Predators have several ways they can beat you, including in net with Juuse Saros stealing games and their ability to play tough forechecking hockey that grinds down the other team. And now they can jump on you offensively, too. Beautiful.