Preds Dictated the Pace at 5-on-5
This has been a reoccurring theme for a while now for the Nashville Predators. Stay out of the box against elite power plays, like the Oilers have, and keep it at 5-on-5. This allows them to better play their hard-hitting and physical style of play. Aggressive forechecking is paramount for the Predators’ success.
Shockingly, the Jeremy Lauzon–Dante Fabbro pairing was the most effective pairing at defending against the Oilers potent attack at 5-on-5. They held the Oilers to a 0.039 Expected Goals Against, and only surrendered two shots on goal while on the ice together.
Offensively at 5-on-5, the Predators also had the higher Expected Goals Percentage. Fabbro again, shockingly, led the team and all skaters in Expected Goals Percentage at 80.73%, followed by Yakov Trenin at 79.18% and Matt Duchene at 77.82%.
The closest Oilers player at 5-on-5 was Tyson Barrie at 64.36%. So at 5-on-5, the Predators were clearly the better team. Unfortunately, all three Oilers power plays resulted in goals despite one of the power plays technically expiring just before the Oilers scored.
This has to be the blueprint moving forward for the Nashville Predators. They are a much different team and difficult to play against when special teams aren’t involved. Obviously, the Predators power play still has a long way to go, but at 5-on-5 there’s hope that the Predators can hang with almost anyone.
Other Game Notes:
- Novak returned the Predators lineup for the first time since December 17, 2021 when he scored a goal against the Chicago Blackhawks. He wasted little time making his presence known with a primary assist on the Predators first goal of the game.
- Gross got his third goal of the season on a shot through traffic. The Predators pride themselves on feeding pucks through traffic and creating chaos in front of the goaltender.
- Duchene ended the Predators’ power play slump with his patented gorgeous stick handling and beating Jack Campbell up high. It was his 8th goal of the season, and 3rd power play goal of the season.
- Three of the four Predators’ goals came from defensemen (Ekholm, Gross, Carrier)