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NHL.com: With Trotz guiding way, Predators back in playoffs

Thursday, 03.29.2012 / 12:53 AM CT / Features
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NHL.com: With Trotz guiding way, Predators back in playoffs
For the seventh time in eight seasons, the Nashville Predators find themselves in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Barring something unforeseen, they will eclipse the 100-point mark for the fourth time in franchise history.

Here are six reasons why the Preds are back in the postseason:

1. Barry Trotz -- In his 13th season behind the bench, Trotz may have put forth his most masterful job. He didn't allow the contract situations of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter to affect a team that lost several key veterans during the offseason. The Predators boast one of the youngest rosters in the League, but Trotz once again has his team in the playoffs. He likely will once again be passed over for the Jack Adams Award, but he deserves some type of recognition for the job he's done in Nashville.

Pekka Rinne
Goalie - NSH
RECORD: 41-16-8
GAA: 2.41 | SVP: 0.922
2. Pekka Rinne -- Of course, an all-world goaltender can go a long way toward making a coach look like a genius. The 29-year-old signed a seven-year, $49 million deal in November and it did nothing to deter his game. He's 41-16-8 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .922 save percentage. His 68 starts are one back of League leader Jonas Hiller of the Anaheim Ducks.

3. The Preds can score -- Sure, their hallmark remains defense and goaltending, but the Predators are on pace to score their most goals in a season since 2006-07. The Predators rank eighth offensively, and that was before bringing back Alexander Radulov last week. If Martin Erat is healthy down the stretch, he could become the first Predator to eclipse the 60-point barrier since J-P Dumont in 2008-09. No one is mistaking the 2011-12 Predators for the 1980s Edmonton Oilers, but scoring isn't the problem it's been in the past.

4. Shea Weber/Ryan Suter -- It'd be foolish to not give these two All-Star defensemen their own credit for not letting their pending RFA (Weber) and UFA (Suter) status mess with their games. Weber is stringing together an offensive season almost identical to last season's, but his plus-19 is far and away a career best. Suter isn't far off his career-high in points while logging the third most ice-time per game (26:37) in the NHL. Weber (26:19) is fifth in that category and could be in line for a Norris Trophy.

Patric Hornqvist
Right Wing - NSH
GOALS: 25 | ASST: 15 | PTS: 40
SOG: 201 | +/-: 5
5. The Preds can score (on the power play) -- Last season, the Predators finished 26th (15.2 percent) with the extra man; this season, they are the best in the NHL at 21.8 percent. Nine of Weber's 16 goals have come during the power play, and Patric Hornqvist has 8 of his team-leading 25 goals on the power play. The Preds are also making the most of their chances -- they're 21st in power-play opportunities but tied for fourth in power-play goals.

6. Little things add up -- The Preds have trailed after two periods 25 times and have rallied to win seven of those games, the second-best mark in the League. Only one team has missed the net less frequently than the Predators. Nashville ranks fourth in takeaways. The PK is in the middle of the pack, but the Predators have put themselves shorthanded the sixth-fewest times in the NHL. When the Preds score first, they are 31-3-4, the third-best mark in the League. It all comes together to make the Predators a very dangerous team.

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter: @DaveLozo

Author: Dave Lozo | NHL.com Staff Writer

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33