Analyzing The Five Keys To Predators Surprise Run In 2017 NHL Playoffs
Outstanding GoaltendingThere are several great reasons why the Predators have had success in the playoffs, but it all begins with the man between the pipes. Pekka Rinne started the playoffs by posting back to back shutouts against the Blackhawks, and has since gone on to post a staggering 1.66 GAA and a .950 save percentage. He’s really only has one bad outing, which is amazing considering the offenses that he has had to face.
Plus/Minus SuperiorityThis has very much been a team effort from the Predators, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Plus/Minus standings. Nashville has 3 players in the top 5 this postseason, which is in large part thanks to the fact that they are just not giving up a lot of goals.
Team DisciplineThe Predators are not a team that scores a lot of goals, which means that they need to be incredibly stingy on defense. One of the best ways to do that is to limit the number of opportunities that opponents get every single game, which can best be done by staying out of the penalty box. Of the 4 teams remaining in the playoffs, the Predators are far and away the least penalized, with just 114 minutes in penalties through 14 games. This has been particularly crucial, as they have the worst penalty kill percentage of the remaining 4 teams.
Peter Laviolette may not be as big a household name as some of the other coaches in this league, but his experience and leadership have been a big part of the success of the Predators. It’s easy to forget that he already has a Stanley Cup ring to his name, taking the Carolina Hurricanes to the promised land in 2006.