Preds Finding Different Ways To Win

Tuesday, 03.13.2012 / 12:36 PM / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
This season's Preds squad has developed an ability to adapt its game to the qualities necessary to win. Nashville's 41 wins are sixth most in the NHL this season. And the 37 non-shootout wins are third most in the league.

Many of those wins have come through solid "system play" and following "the Preds script" -- tight defense anchored by All-Stars Ryan Suter and Shea Weber and stellar goaltending from Vezina front-runner Pekka Rinne. But plenty of this season's wins have come from outside of that script.

The current three game winning streak is a microcosm of the team’s unique talent to win in different ways. Last night was a wide-open offensive battle with the teams trading chances in all three periods and the Preds top line stepping up biggest with Martin Erat, Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostitsyn factoring in three of the team’s four goals --- and creating several other good quality scoring chances. Saturday against Detroit it was tremendous goaltending by Pekka Rinne and timely production from the power-play – converting for two of the team’s three goals. Thursday against Colorado it was Brandon Yip and Matt Halischuk – two guys averaging fewer than 12:00 of ice time per game – providing key plays on the team’s second and third goals respectively in a 4-2 win.

But despite all that, people still like to doubt this team; try to focus more on what this team doesn’t have or doesn’t do well or areas of the game that they perceive to be slipping or any myriad of other reasons people have for doubting this team. But at the end of the day all that matters is what they DO well … and that’s win.

They continually find a way to win games --- many times when others feel they have no business winning. December 1 at defending Western Conference Champion Vancouver, after blowing an early 3-1 lead, the Preds found themselves down 5-3, but rallied to win 6-5; a week later they trailed 3-1 in Columbus, but scored twice in the final 1:36 of the third period to force overtime before Colin Wilson netted the game-winner in the extra session. December 15 the Detroit Red Wings out-shot the Preds 40-21 and held a 3-1 lead late in the second period, but Nashville tied the game with 4:24 remaining in regulation and won it 2:48 later. One week after that the Preds spotted Columbus leads of 4-1 and 5-2 only to chip away, tie the score with 3:46 left in the third period and win it with under 10 seconds left in regulation. And then there was the first game out of the All-Star Break, up in Minnesota, when the Preds were dominated for the first 49 minutes, trailing 4-1, but got one goal back in the middle of the third period and then scored three times in the final 3:21 to steal a win that left even Mike Fisher, the game-winning goal scorer, at a loss for words.

This team has developed a winning attitude, a winning will, a winning know-how. And that’s tougher to game plan against than any talented player or coaching scheme.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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