After struggling mightily during the early part of the season to score goals, Nashville’s offense has shown some improvement as of late. The Predators have scored 14 goals in the past four games, many of which are a direct result of simply throwing pucks on net and having traffic in front.
In today’s NHL, the majority of the goals come from the hard areas in front of the net and off of rebounds. Sure, there are some extremely gifted players whose talent is off the charts that score beautiful goals off of fantastic individual efforts. For the most part, however, teams try to get pucks on net and bodies in front of the net. That’s how the majority of the goals are scored, and that’s what the Predators have been doing over the past few games.
“It’s a simple way of putting it, but that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re just getting pucks and bodies to the net, and either there’s rebounds or something like that. If you look in the league, obviously there’s tons of skill, but the defense are so good that’s the only way you’re really ever going to score,” said Predators forward Colin Wilson.
Getting shots on goal has been a big problem for the Predators so far this season, but things have started to change in the last few games. Nashville has taken 126 shots in their last four games, which is an average of 31.5 shots per game. Nashville still ranks dead last in the NHL with 23.8 shots per game, but that number has been a substantial improvement from where they have been for the majority of the season. The Predators were hovering around an average of 21 shots per game for a while. If the last four games are any indication, that average should continue to rise.
“We have to take pucks to the net,” said Predators forward Patric Hornqvist after Tuesday night’s win over the Detroit Red Wings. “You never know what will happen.”
That’s just it, you never know what will happen. Tuesday night’s game against the Red Wings was a perfect example of that. On Nashville’s second goal, Scott Hannan fired a shot from the point toward the goal that was redirected by Gabriel Bourque, who was standing in front of the net, into the goal. Roman Josi scored the third goal of the game by simply firing a wrist shot in the general vicinity of the goal, and it went off of a stick and into the net. Even Nashville’s game-winning goal involved Shea Weber driving to the net to get the rebound off of Colin Wilson’s shot and put it in the back of the net.
Of Nashville’s 14 goals in the last four games, three have been redirected by somebody standing in front of the net, three have been off of a rebound and two have gone off of an opposing player in front. That’s eight of their last 14 goals coming as a direct result of putting pucks and bodies on net.
It seems the Predators have found their formula for scoring goals. They have to get traffic in front of the goaltender and convert on the rebounds and tip-ins when they get the chance. They’ve done that over the last few games, and that’s why they have been successful offensively.