One Key Area Nashville Predators Have to Improve to Have Success in Playoffs

It's hard to find anything the Predators are doing wrong right now during their 15-game point streak, but there is one area to get better in before the playoffs.

Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets
Nashville Predators v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Nashville Predators have proven throughout the season, and especially during their 15-game point streak currently, that they are among the best teams in the NHL at 5-on-5 hockey.

The Predators are among the best teams, 7th in Expected Goal Differential per MoneyPuck, at generating offense at 5-on-5 even strength. It will serve them well when, and still if, they get into the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

But now the Predators are getting the attention from the national media as not just some ordinary playoff bubble team, but a team that can make some noise once they get in. While I don't disagree with that notion, depending on the first round matchup, there is one area that still gives me pause.

Preds Power Play Still Has Room for Improvement for the Playoffs

The power play has been very up and down throughout the season. It's Head Coach Andrew Brunette's wheelhouse and it's no coincidence that over the last 10 games, the Predators are 8-for-26 (30.7 percent) on the power play.

This is the biggest x-factor for the Predators if they're going to win a first-round playoff series this year. This power play has plenty of promise. It shows a lot of chemistry and crisp passing, but sometimes it's just a tick or two off from really becoming a legit weapon.

The Predators rank 20th in the NHL in power play percentage at 19.9 percent. An improvement from last season, but maybe not as much as you would've expected.

The top power play unit looks outstanding on paper with the trio of Ryan O'Reilly, Filip Forsberg and Gus Nyquist leading the way. The chemistry these three have built as Nashville's top line has taken this team to new heights that many didn't think was possible in Year 1 under Brunette.


Then you have Roman Josi of course quarterbacking everything up top. He is heating up at just the right time and back into the Norris Trophy conversation. Josi got a power play goal against the Kraken in Saturday's win.

Tyson Barrie has filled in as the final piece of the top power play unit, and we know his history of being a successful power play defenseman.

Second Power Play Unit Looking to Find More Consistency

The second unit is up and down. Newly-acquired Jason Zucker has been added in to try to springboard this unit that has had trouble finding consistency.

As Zucker gets more comfortable with his new team, he's only five games into his Predators career, he should show a lot of value for the second unit as time goes on. He's never been a prolific power play producer in his career, so this is an interesting experiment on the second unit after being an unexpected trade deadline addition.

Tommy Novak has six power play goals for the second unit and Colton Sissons has three. Luke Evangelista has two power play goals on the season. Outside of those three, no one currently in the starting lineup has a power play goal for the second unit.

Ryan O'Reilly leads the Predators with 14 power play goals, and is obviously the main catalyst bringing his postseason experience to the table. Surprisingly, O'Reilly only has two power play goals during the Predators' 15-game point streak.

There's 13 games left for the Predators to really build more confidence and consistency on their power play. It will likely make or break them in a playoff series against likely first round opponents.

The Colorado Avalanche have the 7th-ranked power play, the Stars are 9th and the Canucks are 12th. The Predators and their 25th ranked penalty kill is likely going to give up some power play goals in potential matchups against these three, so being able to keep up with your own power play will be critical.

Next. Preds. Point Streak Hits 15 After Preds Drown the Sharks. dark

I love the Predators' chances when it's 5-on-5 because of their physical style and aggressive ability to forecheck and make opponents uncomfortable. They need to start showing more reliability on the power play and then they can really be a force to make a deep run past the first round.

Let's see how the Predators power play fairs against the heavyweight Florida Panthers on Thursday, one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference and ranks sixth on the penalty kill and second on the power play.

Special teams has to win the day in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.