by Forechecker on 02/05/09 at 06:57 PM ET
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…
|Player||Goals||Saved Shots||Missed Shots||Shots Blocked||Corsi|
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.
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