Predators’ Power Play Woes Cause for Concern

Predators’ Power Play Woes Cause for Concern
Mark Harris

The Nashville Predators have done a lot of things well this season. After all, they’ve arguably been the biggest surprise team of 2014-15. They’ve got a great mix of veteran forwards, young up-and-comers, an exceptional blue line and yet their power play has been abysmal all season long.

Nashville’s power play has never been a strong point. With Barry Trotz behind the bench for the entire franchise’s history prior to this year, defense first was the motto. Nashville hasn’t had their power play ranked in the top half of the league since they finished atop the league in that regard in 2010-11. Prior to that season they had not finished in the top half of the entire NHL since the 2005-06 season. This year, even with new (offense first) bench boss Peter Laviolette, Nashville’s power play hasn’t found its stride.

The Predators do rank 12th in the league in goals scored per game with 2.79 tallies a night despite the fact their power play ranks 24th. Nashville has scored just 42 times while on the man advantage this season on 255 tries. Their 255 chances stand as the ninth most among all 30 teams, so they are drawing the penalties and just not finding the back of the net. That can be accredited to their shooting percentage while on the power play, which sits at 11.4%.

For comparison purposes, there are only two teams with a worse power play percentage as the Predators that sit in a playoff spot as of today. The Minnesota Wild sit 28th (15.4%) and the Anaheim Ducks are 26th (16.0%). For what it is worth, Nashville has been a lot better on the man advantage away from home as their road power play sits 15th in the league at 17.4%.

The Predators have scored 19 power play goals on home ice. They had a stretch early in the season where they went scoreless on the power play over the span of 13 home games (0-41). The Predators also went the entire month of March while going six for 47 with the extra skater for a percentage of 7.8%. That certainly dragged their season power play percentage down to what now stands at 16.5%.

Mike Fisher’s seven power play goals leads the team with forwards Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith just behind him with six each. Roman Josi and Shea Weber really are who make the Nashville power play tick and they each have three goals and five goals along with 12 assists and 10 assists respectively.

Some thought the addition of Cody Franson prior to the trade deadline would help aid the power play, but he’s averaged just 1:12 of ice time while on the man advantage along with his five-on-five ice time being cut very short in three of the last six games.

With the Predators currently battling down the stretch in hopes to claim home ice for the first round of the playoffs and the opportunity to raise a banner for the first time in franchise history, their obvious weakness is indeed their power play.

They did manage to find the back of the net Tuesday night while on the power play against the Colorado Avalanche and if they want to make a real run at a Stanley Cup their power play will certainly need to awaken in a major way come April 15 as the post season begins.

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Mark Harris

Mark covers the Central Division here at Today’s Slapshot. He is also the editor of predlines.com, the Nashville Predators blog part of the FanSided network. He is a credentialed member of the media with the Predators with Predlines.

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