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NWHL Stars Shine and A Lost Weekend

February 11, 2019, 8:10 AM ET [2 Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Lots to unpack after a busy hockey weekend in Smashville… I will get to the Predators lost weekend later on as I recognize the NWHL All Star Weekend. Pred Nation brought it for the ladies as the stars of the NWHL descended upon Nashville.

Saturday night’s skills competition was a lot of fun, from Kendal Coyne Schofield’s 13.9 second lap around the rink in the fastest skater competition, besting her time from the NHL All Star Weekend, to Team Szabados’ Flying V in the Trick Shot Competition. The sold out event was a lot of fun for all.

Sunday’s All Star Game broke a US Professional Women’s Hockey attendance record as over 6100 hockey fans cheered on the All Stars in a game that went to a shoot out with Team Szabados taking the victory. In her post-game interview Shannon Szabados thanked the fans for their support and seemed genuinely touched by the welcome the NWHL got in Smashville.

Around these games were a Predators matinee back-to-back with St. Louis… Saturday’s loss was, shall we say, ugly… Sunday’s game, you could say that the Predators deserved a better result. A few crazy bounces beat Juuse Saros, but the Predators kept fighting back and managed a point in the OT loss.

It needs to be said… the top line is on fire. The JoFA line has been dominant and the only reason a point came out of yesterday’s game however; this can’t be a one line team. Oh, and it’s not all on the forwards… the blueline needs to step it up as well.

It’s very easy to point at different players on the second, third and fourth lines… he needs to be better, that line needs to be better and that is the reality of the situation. Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala are only a few points behind Victor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg when looking at the scoring stats… the problem with that stat is that Smith and Fiala have played at least 17 more games. Kyle Turris is shaking off the rust, you can see that in his play… half a stride off, passes just a hair off…that will come. You can also see that Brian Boyle is adjusting to the new system and new teammates. But the secondary scoring needs to start happening to take the pressure off the JoFA line. One of the strengths of this team has always been it's balanced scoring giving opposing coaches fits in the scheming. This team is now very easy to prepare for. That needs to change.

The blueline has been OK offensively however, Ryan Ellis and PK Subban haven’t been playing to their normal standard and they know it. The entire blueline has been a little careless with the puck and there are several players that just appear to be trying to do too much. The giveawy stats are one thing, but the timing of the giveaways are another. This is a very talented blueline that just needs to simplify their game a bit.

Oh yeah… and let’s not forget the power play… the team has dropped to dead last in the league with a 13% conversion rate.

Look at all those things together, and you are surprised that the Preds are maintaining their position in the division and the conference.

The Bat Signal is starting to shine from 501 Broadway. Should there be a reuniting of Kyle Turris with Mark Stone? Artemi Panarin as a rental? The best part of this whole situation is that it is happening before the trade deadline and you can bet that GM David Poile will be looking to work his magic in the two weeks to come.

The Predators are back in action at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night against the Detroit Red Wings.

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The Where We Stand section

Nashville maintains the second slot in the Central Division, two points behind the Winnipeg Jets, Winnipeg holds two game in hand over Nashville. The Preds lead Dallas by ten points and lead St. Louis and Minnesota by 12.

Nashville currently holds the 4 seed in the Western Conference playoff race and has a 99.8% chance of making the playoffs according to SportsClubStats.com… the “85% chance” line is floating between 89 and 90 points right now.

Impact Games Tonight – None

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Random Notes

- Milwaukee Update –Home ice has not been kind to the Ad’s as they dropped their 5th consecutive home game Saturday night, losing to Chicago in OT 3-2. The Admirals play San Antonio tonight before their five day schedule break and then heading out on a three week road trip. They will not play at home after tonight until March 5th.

- Trade – The Preds did make a depth trade on Friday, sending Emil Petterson to Arizona for Adam Helewka and Laurent Dauphin. Both players were sent to Milwaukee.

- Hard Luck – Games like yesterday have to frustrate the heck out of a goaltender, when bad bounces and crazy hops get by you. Juuse Saros was outstanding last night, despite his stat line.

- Growth – The NWHL has to be pleased with the attendance for their All Star Weekend, a sold out skill competition and breaking an attendance record for the game. Could expansion into Music City be far behind?

- Fired – Columbus sniper Artemi Panarin fired his agent last Friday. Panarin’s new agent is Paul Theofanous… who just happens to be Sergei Bobrovsky’s agent. Stay tuned for this drama to come.

- Fired Part Deaux – The Anaheim Ducks finally fired Randy Carlyle as the team just seemed to be spiraling down the drain. The Ducks haven’t won since January 19th, giving up 37 goals in their last seven games, all losses. GM Bob Murray is taking over behind the bench. The Preds play the Ducks again on March 12 in Anaheim.

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