Mar 23, 2012, 3:44 PM EST
If you haven’t watched the Predators closely this season, you might assume their biggest weakness remains scoring. After all, that’s the way it was last year, and the year before that…and the year before that.
But Nashville’s offense actually ranks ninth in the NHL, averaging 2.8 goals per game. More than Washington. More than San Jose.
In fact, if there’s one thing the Preds need to improve as the playoffs approach, it’s defense. In their past two games, they’ve lost 6-3 to the Oilers and 5-1 to the Penguins. Since the beginning of February, they’ve surrendered three or more goals in 10 of 23 games. They haven’t shut a team out since Jan. 19.
“I think we’re too worried about scoring goals. We need to figure out that our main priority is playing defense. We’re talented enough that we’ll be able to score those, but right now we’re thinking offense first and not defense.”
Pekka Rinne’s numbers have taken a hit in the process. The Vezina-caliber goalie has a .890 save percentage in March, and he’s been yanked in two of his last eight starts.
Predators beat writer Josh Cooper (The Tennessean) wonders if Rinne’s battling fatigue, and he might be on to something. Only Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller has played more games (68) than Rinne (66). And no goalie’s faced more shots (1,972).
Nashville hosts Winnipeg Saturday.
- Trade: Rangers land Yandle, Coyotes receive Duclair, first-rounder 46
- Trade: Capitals land Glencross, Flames get two picks 23
- Flames place Giordano on IR 5
- Flyers keep faint playoff hopes alive with win over Rangers 28
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder 69
- Jagr earns high praise in his Panthers debut 1
- Bruins maintain four-point edge in playoff race, hand Coyotes ninth straight loss 5
- NHL on NBC: Rangers look for a fourth straight win against the Flyers 7
- Ducks score four third-period goals, come back to beat rival Kings 9
- Blackhawks aren’t done talking trades, will look to add another forward 13
- Wild beat Avs, dying seconds fight set stage for rematch (137)
- Petrovic: Chicago will ‘probably seek revenge’ for Kane injury tonight (82)
- Report: Alex Petrovic avoids discipline after injuring Patrick Kane (69)
- Trade: Blackhawks acquire Vermette from Arizona for Dahlbeck, first rounder (69)
- Trading baggage: Blue Jackets grab Clarkson, send Horton’s contract to Leafs (66)