NHL.com's X-factor: Nashville needs offense from both Kostitsyns

Friday, 04.27.2012 / 10:32 AM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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NHL.com\'s X-factor: Nashville needs offense from both Kostitsyns

The Nashville Predators acquired Andrei Kostitsyn from Montreal at the trade deadline with the hope that playing with his younger brother Sergei would reinvigorate him.

The move worked, as Andrei clicked upon arrival in Nashville, totaling 12 points in 19 regular-season games. He added a goal and an assist in five playoff games against the Detroit Red Wings.

Now the Predators hope Sergei Kostitsyn can re-discover his scoring touch.

Sergei had just two goals and five assists in 18 games after Andrei came to Nashville -- the two goals were the only ones he scored in his final 21 games -- and just one goal in five games in the first round against the Red Wings.

However, that goal was a big one, as he finished a 2-on-1 break with a wicked wrist shot that beat Wings goalie Jimmy Howard with 3:30 left in the third period and provided the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win that give the Predators a 2-1 series lead.

Having a game-winning goal under his belt is nice, but the Predators need more from Sergei Kostitsyn, as well as linemates Mike Fisher and Martin Erat. They had just two assists each in the first round. During the regular season, that trio combined for 60 goals.

Against the Red Wings, it was the second line of David Legwand between Gabriel Bourque and Alexander Radulov that carried the offense, scoring six of the Predators' 13 goals in the first round. But with scoring sure to be at a premium against the Phoenix Coyotes in the second round, the Predators will need offense from every place on the roster if they hope to advance to the conference finals for the first time in team history.

The starting point could be for Sergei Kostitsyn and his linemates to start shooting the puck. Kostitsyn had just four shots on goal in the five games, fewer than all but three Predators forwards who played in every game of the series.

As he showed on his goal in Game 3, Kostitsyn not only has a hard shot, but an accurate one. Two seasons ago, when he had a career-best 23 goals, he scored them on just 93 shots -- a League-best 24.7 shooting percentage that stands as the second-best performance since the 2005-06 season. This season, he took a career-high 97 shots and scored on 17 of them, good for 10th in the League at 17.5 percent.

If Kostitsyn shoots more, the odds are good he'll be able to put a few pucks behind Coyotes goalie Mike Smith -- and that would make the Predators' odds for advancing that much better.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

Author: Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 58 36 18 4 160 134 76
2 DAL 55 35 15 5 178 147 75
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 53 32 18 3 146 124 67
5 SJS 53 28 20 5 154 143 61
6 ANA 53 26 19 8 120 125 60
7 COL 57 28 25 4 153 158 60
8 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
9 MIN 54 23 21 10 133 134 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 53 25 25 3 143 156 53
13 WPG 54 24 27 3 139 157 51
14 EDM 56 22 29 5 138 168 49

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36