Question #5: Will they figure out how to cut back on the penalties?
I’ve been asking this question for most of the season as the Nashville Predators have led the NHL in penalties minutes and penalties taken for the majority of the year.
Heading into March the Predators lead the NHL in total penalty minutes by almost 100 over the lowly Arizona Coyotes, and average 12:47 of PIM per game, which is also way ahead of the next team in the Coyotes.
As much as playing with an edge benefits this team and gives them that identity that Hynes always preaches, it’s also going to be their undoing against the top tier teams in the playoffs, or the hunt for the playoffs down the stretch. We saw that in the Stadium Series game against the Lightning, who struck for two power play goals after the Predators took the intial 1-0 lead.
My answer to this question is a resounding “no”. As in they won’t figure out how to cut back because this is just who they are, for better or worse. Sometimes this style benefits them, and sometimes it hurts them drastically.
Count your blessing that the penalty kill has at least shown some mild improvement this season over previous seasons, otherwise this team would be hanging out near the bottom of the standings. If they can develop a reliable penalty kill over these last two months, then maybe they can overcome the large amount of penalties.
But, no. They’re going to continue to get penalized reguarly and put Saros in difficult situations. Just have to come to grips with it at this point.