How much longer can the Nashville Predators sustain having very little offensive consistency as they remain on the bubble of the playoffs?
The Nashville Predators returned to action Saturday afternoon in a battle with the desperate Philadelphia Flyers. It was definitely a battle, but not so much on the offensive end for either team.
Matt Duchene would eventually get the overtime winning goal to nab the two points in the standings:
Now while this team has struggled all season offensively, and you have to wonder how much longer they can hang in the postseason race with these goal scoring droughts.
The game fresh out of the All-Star break was particularly one of the worst offensive showings of the season, and the Predators were flirting with franchise history in a very bad way for shots on goal in a game midway through the third period against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Nashville Predators Five on Five Offense
The Nashville Predators 5-on-5 offense was something that you would expect to see in a beer league game against Vegas, not in the NHL. The four forward lines accounted for 11 shots on goal the entire game.
That statistic leaves four forwards without even recording a single shot on goal. One of which is Ryan Johansen, who has an AAV of $8 million per year. This is the eighth time this season Johansen has had a zero in the shot column.
While the first goal came at even strength, that was all the Predators could muster in front of the home crowd at Bridgestone Arena. The rest of the game was absolutely dominated by the Golden Knights. The Predators only had six shots on goal through the first two periods.
The Predators needed an inspired response against the Flyers on Saturday, and the offense was still lacking. Luckily it turned into a defensive stalemate of sorts, and Duchene came to the rescue in overtime thanks to a nice set-up pass from Johansen.
Even so, it was still another game of very little offensive sustained pressure to show for it. The Flyers live off of that.
In the wake of the Filip Forsberg hit and fall to the ice that has him as day-to-day, Philip Tomasino is getting the call-up and hopefully can provide a new spark on the offensive end.
Nashville Predators Power Play
The Nashville Predators had two power play opportunities in the game. In true Nashville Predators fashion, there was nothing to show for these opportunities though.
The first power play came at 15:45 of the first period when Niederreiter drew a tripping penalty against Brayden McNabb. This power play saw the Predators have four shot attempts, but none reached the net.
Later in the game, at 16:56 of the third period, Jeremy Lauzon drew a cross-checking penalty against William Carrier. The Predators looked a little more organized on this power play, recording three shots on goal on five shot attempts.
After last night’s game, the Nashville Predators are now 26 of 158 on the power play on the season. Their 16.46% success rate ranks them 27th in the league, only ahead of the Blue Jackets, Ducks, Islanders, Flyers, and Canadiens. Their power play looks unorganized and unmotivated to get the puck to the net. They are looking for the perfect shot rather than shooting the puck.
Nashville Predators Lack of Scoring Cost Them Majorly
Now that we have looked at last two games, let’s take a look at what this means for the Nashville Predators moving forward, starting with a matchup against the Arizona Coyotes on Monday night.
The Predators have been held to two goals or less on 24 occasions through 50 games. In those 24 games, the Predators have a record of 7-13-4. Their lack of scoring has kept them out of contention in almost half of the games that they have played.
On the other hand, when the Predators score three or more goals, they have a record of 18-6-2. When this team scores, they win. But more times than not this season, they have not found a way to find the back of the net.
Scoring goals starts with shooting the puck and getting it to the net. This season the Predators have 1,523 shots on goal with the league average being 1,600 shots on goal. There are only four players on this roster that have recorded more than 100 shots on goal through 49 games. The Predators have also been held to 30 or less shots on goal 23 times and have only held opponents to that low of a number in 13 contests.
The Predators are on pace for 231 goals this season. To put that into comparison over the past three full seasons the Predators have scored 266 (2021-2022), 240 (2018-2019), and 267 (2017-2018). If they were putting up even close to the number from 2021-22 or 2017-18, they would be in a much better position in the standings.
The lack of goal scoring by this team is terrible. There is plenty of individuals on this roster that have the ability to score at a much higher rate than what they are currently at. Having just five players in double digits in goals and no one being over the 20-goal mark at this point of the season is unacceptable.