by Forechecker on 01/28/09 at 01:36 AM ET
Quoth John Glennon at the Tennessean:
The Predators will be looking to both the past and the future as they seek to rediscover their long-lost offense following the NHL All-Star break.
In practice Monday, their first after six off days, the Predators reunited one of the more successful lines in franchise history -
Yes folks, you know what that means…
Battered, bruised, and armed with merely a popgun offense of late, the Predators are putting J.P. Dumont, Jason Arnott, and Steve Sullivan back together again in an attempt to generate consistent scoring chances.
Yesterday, I looked at Nashville’s centers to try and see if the lack of goal-scoring might be due to the loss of Scott Nichol stretching the team’s depth down the middle. It appears, however, that in terms of overall Shots For and Against, the Predators are doing just fine; the problem is that once they’re in the offensive zone, the snipers just aren’t burying those golden opportunities, and it seems like that home game against Vancouver on December 9 (when Nichol got hurt, J.P. Dumont got run by Alex Burrows, and Shea Weber got boarded from behind in a 3-0 loss) was the turning point:
|Before Dec. 9||Dec. 9 & After|
|Player||G||S||MS||BS||Sht %||Tot Sht %||G||S||MS||BS||Sht %||Tot Sht %|
G = Goals
S = Shots saved by the opposing goalie
MS = Missed Shots
BS = Shots Blocked by opponents
Sht % = Shooting Percentage
Tot Sht % = Goals scored as a percentage of Total Shots (G+S+MS+BS)
Stats courtesy of TimeOnIce.com
The basic story is told right there at the bottom; as a group, the forwards were scoring on 9.4% of shots early on (a roughly average NHL rate), whereas since then, it’s plummeted to 6.3%. That just ain’t getting it done, folks.
What this calls for is a combination of skill and determination, which would appear to be behind the new line combinations that are being talked about. Dumont-Arnott-Sullivan should be able to bring constant pressure, while the callup of Ryan Jones means that Nashville once again has at least one forward who will drive relentlessly to the front of the net to bury the tough goals (and if he draws a penalty from the opposition while doing so, all the better).
Nashville’s tailspin started with that awful home loss to Vancouver seven weeks ago, and Wednesday night they enter GM Place for their last matchup with the Canucks during this regular season. If the Predators can pull off a big road victory, they might just exorcise some demons along the way.
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