Shootin’ Blanks: The Scoring Debacle
By: Miranda Martin
It’s been a rough week for the Nashville Predators.
Dating back to last Monday night’s debacle against Colorado, the team in one week doubled their loss total for the entire season. After scoring 9 goals in the first two games of last week, the team was then blanked both Friday and Saturday, shut out by the Vancouver Canucks as well as the Detroit Red Wings. They recorded only one win—the first meeting against the Red Wings Tuesday night.
With the exception of Friday’s game in Vancouver, where only 10 shots were recorded in 40 minutes, the team has been shooting more than their previous average. Against Detroit Saturday night, the Predators threw 33 shots on net. More so, the Predators had innumerable scoring chances against Detroit on Saturday night, and yet they still came up short. Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard without a doubt did a stellar job in net, stopping all shots faced for his first shutout of the season.
With the two shut outs this week, the Predators have now been blanked 5 out of their 6 regulation losses, as well. After finally breaking the 2 goals/game mark in the statistics category, the Predators fell back to 30th in the league for goals/game, averaging just 1.9—the only team below 2…again.
Conversion and rebounding will be key, literally and figuratively. If the opposing goaltender lets any type of rebound out, the Predators need to be jumping on the every chance. Lucky bounces work just as well as some fancy stick-work to get the goal in. With players like Patric Hornqvist and Gabriel Bourque taking their spot in front of the net once again, garbage goals will be another crucial element. The Predators have never been the fancy pants, highlight reel scoring team. Why start now?
Rebounding is also major in the resiliency of the team beyond goals. Obviously, if the team is averaging being shut out once every four games… something isn’t clicking offensively. Does that mean switch the offensive lines up and still play 7 defensemen to make up for their lack of offense? Likely. Stand on Pekka Rinne’s shoulders and still average 1 goal per game? Of course. Start all those trade rumors about an actual Top-6 forward coming in? Inevitable. Nevertheless, the team needs to learn how to be flexible and bounce back from an opponent’s goal, as well as protecting their own leads.
So bury them. Finish them. Use whatever coined up, fighting platform term available. Getting pucks to the back of the net is what wins games. The Dallas Stars are going without goaltender Kari Lehtonen tonight, and goaltender Christopher Nilstorp will be looking for his second ever NHL victory. The Stars are ranked 17th in the NHL for goals against/game, with 2.7. This would be a good opportunity for the Predators to once again find some sort of offensive power…somehow.
Faceoff tonight against the Dallas Stars is at 7 PM at Bridgestone Arena. Less than 500 tickets remain as the Predators hope for their 23rd consecutive sellout. The game will be televised nationally on NBC Sports