Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The rise of the Predators

This tidbit is likely to be everywhere by the morning, but, with their 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night, the Nashville Predators have the second-longest win streak from the start of the season — ever.

The longest? The 1993-94 Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Preds are getting a really balanced attack with pint-sized Steve Sullivan leading the way. Sullivan doesn't look like he's missed a beat from 2003-04, when he joined Nashville with 24 games left and notched 30 points.

What's getting it done for the Preds this year? Well, the team's balanced defence and great goaltending from Tomas Vokoun has them at 6th in goals against (2.29).

The biggest stat you need to know about Nashville's success is that they have the second-fewest penalty minutes so far this year (12.0), behind only the also successful Buffalo Sabres (11.6). That, combined with the 8th-best powerplay (19.5%) and fifth-best penalty kill (87.5%), is what has them on top.

It's going to be quite the battle for tops in the Central.


At 2:24 a.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger Nick said...

The predators do look good... I can only think of one team that might look better....

At 2:32 a.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...

It's funny that ESPN's now calling Manny Legace a goalie that can go the distance after all the years of criticism the guy has had.

At 1:21 p.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger Ryan Wolstat said...

I knew they'd be good.
Great bunch of tiny d-men who get the job done and move the puck.
Timmonen is what Kaberle should be.n

At 1:29 p.m., October 26, 2005, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Let's not get too excited about Nashville quite yet. Look at who they have beaten:

St. Louis twice
San Jose twice

Yup, they have yet to beat a team playing above .500 hockey. Let's see how they do when they play Detroit, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Dallas, etc. Their next 4 games are against Columbus, Edmonton, Anaheim and San Jose before playing Los Angeles so they could win 12 straight games to start the season, all against sub-.500 teams.

At 2:25 p.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger James Mirtle said...


Considering the Predators will play Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis 24 times this year, you can run down their end-of-season wins list and there'll be a lot of easy ones in there. The Devils are playing poor competition also and look at their record.

At 3:28 p.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger ninja said...

Nashville hype is another reason shoot-out wins shouldn't count as much as a regulation win. Nice record, but not the same as having 8 wins in regulation.

Paid for by the friends of the 3 point for a regulation win foundation.

At 7:14 p.m., October 26, 2005, Blogger JasonSpaceman said...

James - the stat that Nashville has the 2nd-fewest penalty minutes in the league right now is a shocker to me. It seems like we've been marching to the box left and right in every game I've seen.

It's funny, Ninja, I haven't really seen any "hype" about Nashville. Except, of course, since Ottawa finally lost. All I've seen is my team being overlooked by the major media, as usual. That's fine with me. If everyone wants to let us keep sneaking up on the league, I'll take it.

Regarding the knock about not having 8 wins in regulation...the team doesn't make the rules, they play by them. I don't like shootouts either, but that doesn't mean the Preds are any worse because they've won 3 of them.

And about their record versus sub-.500 teams: while it's true that St. Louis and Chicago are sub-par teams, San Jose is a good team that's just not catching the breaks at this point. They are indeed two games under .500 - but those two games are the ones where Nashville has beaten them. Anaheim will probably get better as the season goes along, unless Jiggy is a total bust. Phoenix might get better if Gretzky figures out what's going on.

Take a look at the talent on the Nashville roster, the intensity and desire they play with, and the team chemistry - and then ask yourself if you can honestly tell me that Nashville isn't one of the best teams in the league. A lot of people are quick to knock the Preds - the way they always have been - without looking at the team on the ice. How many of the detractors have even watched a Nashville game before?

At 9:32 p.m., October 26, 2005, Anonymous David Johnson said...

Well, Nashville just lost to Columbus so I guess we can stop the talk of a 12-0 start.


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