This is going to be a strange edition of Report Cards. The Nashville Predators lost a nailbiter to the Colorado Avalanche and my eye test couldn’t be farther from what I saw on the stat sheet, in some regards. I thought Pekka Rinne stole the show for most of the game, but he ended the night with an 88% save percentage in all situations. It was definitely an odd night, so let’s get to the stats and see just how weird it got.
The first line had an eventful night. They started off mostly against the second and third line in the first period, but then they were tasked with shutting down the MacKinnon line for much of the second and third.
The trio’s five on five ice time was a little lacking tonight, but that’s mostly because of how many penalties there were. They started mostly in the offensive zones but there was no sheltering to speak of. The MacKinnon line gave them a run for their money, but Johansen and company proved they could keep up with them. I’m mostly happy with their high danger chance production, as they created four and only surrendered two.
I gave them a B+ mostly because they got burnt by MacKinnon and Rantanen a few times. All in all, it was a successful night for the Predators’ top line.
The second line had a similar night to the first line, statistically speaking. They won the possession and high danger battle, but they produced less than the top unit did.
Hartman produced the lone high danger chance as well as scored the only goal created by the second line. The reason their grade is lower than the first’s is because they faced much easier competition. They mostly saw the third defensive duo and third offensive line. Again, I’m not upset with what they produced, I just would’ve liked to see more.
So, for me, the eye test matches the stat sheet perfectly here.
Yes, the trio faced MacKinnon for most of the first half of the game, but Peter Laviolette had to re-assign them because they were getting rocked. I understand that lines have bad games, but you need consistency from your “shutdown line”. I think we’ve been assigning this moniker to Bonino because we can’t think of anything else to really say about him. He doesn’t produce offense and, quite frankly, doesn’t really produce defense either.
Watson and Sissons aren’t free from issues either, but their play as wingers was not terrible. The trio didn’t surrender a goal, but I believe that is by the grace of Pekka Rinne alone.
And we’re right back to my eye test clashing with the stat sheet. This is, unarguably, the fourth line’s best game of the season. Heck, maybe of all time.
No, they didn’t score, but they destroyed the Avalanche’s fourth line. They didn’t surrender a single shot attempt or high danger chance while piling them on. Seriously, this might a fourth line’s best game in the history of the Nashville Predators.
Now, whenever I saw them step on the ice, I dropped bricks. They were in all three zones and never seemed like they held the puck for more than a few seconds. I think their stat sheet excellence has to do with the fact these three only produced eight of their 14 shot attempts, meaning that the defense was stepping up offensively.
We have to give this line their credit for the night, but I think their sheltered competition helped quite a bit.
Well, the top defensive unit certainly produced offensively, but they had some very different levels of competition as the night went on. They started off against the MacKinnon line, but then mostly finished against the Compher line.
The first pairing had a tall order on Tuesday and mostly killed it. Granted, most of their shot attempts and high danger chances for came against the Compher line, but they didn’t exactly get buried alive by MacKinnon. I’d give them a “B+”, but they did surrender a goal while failing to score one.
The shutdown line of the defense. The Ying to the third line’s Yang, so to speak. While the third line was eaten alive, the shutdown pairing managed to keep their heads just around sea level.
While the stats aren’t nearly as impressive as the first pair’s, their lack of zone sheltering keeps them from dropping to a “C”. Mattias Ekholm did his best and covered for some forwards’ mistakes, but he couldn’t be everywhere. The Predators really missed P.K. Subban on Tuesday night, as Hamhuis’ lack of speed made him a target for MacKinnon.
I’m not saying Hamhuis was a huge liability, but there’s a clear drop off in talent between Subban and him. I still can’t be too upset, as Hamhuis has played tougher minutes than I thought he’d have to.
It’s often hard for me to say good things about the third pairing, but here goes. The third defensive line was a positive for the Predators during the majority of the game.
I say the majority because Weber got walked a few times by MacKinnon and Landeskog, but Rinne managed to bail them out. Otherwise, the third unit was strong. Positive shot attempts and high danger chances is nothing to sneeze at considering that both Irwin and Weber aren’t usually positives.
They only played the second and third lines for the majority of the night, but they did a good job of staying on the offensive and they were rewarded with a goal. All in all, it was a good night for them.
Rinne doesn’t deserve this. This game could’ve easily ended with the Avalanche scoring five or six goals, but Rinne kept them in it. The Predators need to do something to help him out before he breaks. I’m going to give Rinne a “B” because of how his overall save percentage dropped.