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The Puck Stops Here

Hottest Team At The Break

The All Star break is a natural time to look at the season so far.  One thing few people notice is which team has been the hottest in the time up to the break.  That team is the Nashville Predators.  They have won their last four straight.  They have nine wins in their last ten games.  They have twelve wins in their last 14 games.  This has moved the Preds up to fifth place in the West Conference.  They have a 30-20 record with four regulation tie points to give them 64 points.  This places them a mere three points out of first place in the entire NHL.

Nashville is a team that has its biggest strength in the defensive end of the zone.  Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are All Star defencemen.  Pekka Rinne is a top goalie.  They do not have any big scorers.  Martin Erat leads the team with 35 points at the break.

Nashville is a good team.  They are very well coached.  I would support Barry Trotz as coach of the year.  I think they will be tough to beat come playoff time and could win a round or two.  They are not the best team in the league, but they are the hottest team in the league at this point.  Unfortunately this point is January and not playoff time.

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Comments

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If Nashville’s biggest strength is in the defensive end and in turn makes them tough to beat come playoff time and capable of winning a round or two, you’d really expect their goals against average to be better than 9th.  Six of the other seven teams currently in the playoffs in the West have a better goals against average.  Five of the other teams have a better 5 on 5 goal differential.  The only thing Nashville does better than the other seven teams right now is power play percentage.

Given the right matchup Nashville could get through the first round, but I don’t see them being capable of beating Vancouver, Detroit, San Jose, or Chicago if the Hawks improve their goals against just a bit.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 01/26/12 at 03:04 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

you’d really expect their goals against average to be better than 9th

Pretty sure that is based on the slow start.  It’s not average goals against that matter come playoff time. 
The Khawks are ten times more clutch than these guys, but look at the goaltending comparison.  Man, this is one I would really love to see go 7 games in the first round.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/26/12 at 04:15 PM ET

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Not sure how good Nashville really is. They’re getting outshot by 3-4 shots per game and are basically even at 5v5. Like the other poster said, they’re successful largely because of their 2nd-ranked power play. I think their power play deserves to be closer to where it was last year (near the bottom) than the top, and that should start showing soon.

Posted by Ralph on 01/27/12 at 11:19 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

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