Kukla's Korner

Keep the momentum rolling

A nice post-All Star break start by the Predators (3-1) has Nashville back within hailing distance of playoff position, with a critical stretch coming up over the next four days; tonight vs. Anaheim, Friday at Minnesota, and Sunday at Dallas.  All three of those opponents are included in the cluster of teams battling for four available playoff spots, so making progress in the playoff race means taking at least 3 points out of these games (considering two are on the road).

One tempting storyline has attributed the Preds’ recent success to the reunion of the Sullivan/Arnott/Dumont line, especially in light of the production of Dumont (3 goals) and Arnott (2 goals) of late.  However, you might be surprised to find out that these three, as a line, haven’t actually done much…

 PlayerGoalsSaved ShotsMissed ShotsShots BlockedCorsi
 Wade Belak0101-1
 Martin Erat11021+6
 David Legwand0813+3
 Radek Bonk1614-4
 Jason Arnott1315-9
 Jordin Tootoo0210-6
 Jerred Smithson0512+6
 Steve Sullivan0322-26
 Patric Hornqvist0222+2
 Ryan Jones01021+1
 Joel Ward1320-9
 Vern Fiddler0110-11
 Antti Pihlstrom0111+6
 J.P. Dumont2652-13

The table above (data from TimeOnIce.com) shows the results of Even Strength play in the last four games; the Big Line has actually been outscored 3-1 so far, and that Corsi number isn’t encouraging.  Now, one could make the case that Sully’s presence opens up opportunities for other players, since even though he hasn’t scored yet, he’s still enough of a threat that he attracts attention from opposing defenses.

The upside, of course, is that if Sullivan does start scoring, that could give Nashville enough offensive punch to hang in the Western Conference playoff chase.  Remember, they’re not chasing gazelles, folks; this is a large collection of mediocre teams, where “pretty good” might just be good enough.


Filed in: Nashville Predators, NHL Statistical Analysis, | On the Forecheck | Permalink


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