Preds Have to Start Winning at Home
In the past, the Predators were not known as road warriors. They wouldn’t storm into another team's building and take two points. Nashville got most of its points and wins at Bridgestone Arena, becoming known as one of the best home teams over the past five years. Recently, this has changed. This season, the Preds have the league's 4th best road record at 9-6-1 but they have been struggling at home with a dismal 5-5-3 record, in front of only Carolina and Columbus.
Before the game against the Ducks on Saturday night the Predators had lost four straight on home ice, with the last two games against the Coyotes and the Sabers both tightly contested games that could have gone either way. The Predators have to start taking advantage of home ice very soon, or could end up missing the playoffs for the second time since the lockout. With 6 of their next 9 games at home to end December, it will be important for the Preds to take as many point as possible.
For Nashville to start winning at home, Pekka Rinne also has to start playing like he was before. At the start of the season, Rinne looked unbeatable for long stretches of time but has since come down to earth in a hard way. Before the win against Columbus on Thursday, he had lost 7 straight games and hadn't looked like himself in the net. While every player goes through slumps and has of games at time, Nashville cannot afford to have him be un-Rinne like any longer.
The other players that have to step up? Well the entire defense aside for Weber and Suter need to show that they are capable of more. Beyond the two, the D-core has just 20 points, which is equal to Suter alone. They are also a combined -31 while Weber and Suter are +25, and though sometimes +/- can be a little skewed, that major discrepancy shows who and who isn’t getting it done for the team.
In the end, the Predators have to get back to playing solid hockey inside the Bridgestone Arena and soon. To do it they need their elite 49 million dollar goaltender to play like he is capable of and for the defence to step up.
Also as a side note, who would have though the Preds powerplay would ever be at 5th in the league so far this year?
Greg Duley (@TCL_Greg)