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The Predators are hoping to continue to grow, and build on last season’s success. They got their first playoff series win last season when the beat Anaheim in six games, and though they would go on to lose to Vancouver in the second round, that first playoff series victory was big for the franchise.
Nashville has one of the top goalies in the league in Pekka Rinne. He started the season on a tear with three shutouts in his first 12 games, then fell off in December—which has lead to his goals against average rise to 2.50. He seems to be back on track though, with a five game win streak and a 1.60 GAA over that time.
The team plays in many close games, and are only +2 in goals on the season. As the year goes on and Rinne regains his normal stellar form that goal differential should improve.
One area that the team struggles with is the lack of at least one true scoring threat—they do not have anyone in the top 50 in goals or points. While they do have five players with double digit goals, Nashville doesn't have one particular player that other teams need to focus on shutting down.
There is something to be said about the ability spread the scoring around, but a team still needs to have go-to guys. The Predators' star defender, Shea Weber, is the leading scorer.
Still, Nashville has one of the best power plays in the league. Over 26 percent of their goals come on the power play—that is far above the other teams in the division. On the down side, however, they are one of the weakest even-strength teams. Considering the majority of the game is played at even-strength, this is an area of concern for the team and they will need to improve.
Speaking of Weber, he is one of the better defenders in the league—and leads a decent defensive unit. Overall, the team is young—averaging 26.7 years—and a lot of that youth is on the defense. As they learn and gain more experience this unit should improve.
The Predators should be in for the playoffs, but are not quite ready to challenge for the division yet. With all the youth on the team it remains to be seen how and if they can handle the pressure, as the season winds down and playoff spots start to disappear.