After three years of being referred to as having a power(less) play, the Nashville Predators appear to have found the remedy for part of their special teams problem.
The Predators currently have the sixth-best power play in the NHL (27 percent); it’s the first time they’ve had a power play at 20 percent or better since the 2017-18 season (21.2 percent).
Nashville is one of just seven teams this season with double-digit power play goals (10). Only the Edmonton Oilers (15) and Anaheim Ducks (12) have more. For comparison, the Predators had just 28 power play goals in 56 games last season.
“The power play continues to be able to execute,” Hynes said. “I think, as we all know, special teams are such a big part of the game. It’s nice to see both units (power play, penalty kill) building some chemistry and building some confidence because there’s production, but also [they’re] building the identities of each.”
That last part of what Hynes said is the important part. The Predators have had such success this year with their power play because of that identity.
In years past, the Predators seemed to lack any sort of fundamental plan when they had the man advantage, which would certainly explain why they finished with the 23rd-, 25th- and 31st-ranked power plays over the past three seasons, respectively.
It became increasingly easier for opposing teams to defend, and increasingly difficult for the Predators to score with, the same players going to the same spots, passing to the same teammates and firing shots from the same areas of the ice every time.
But now, Nashville’s PP has fluidity and unpredictability. Players aren’t tied to specific areas of the ice, there’s little wasted movement, passes have intended targets, players are more difficult to scout, and shots have a higher probability of going in.
The Predators are tougher to scout, harder to defend, and they set difficult-to-match pace that wears down an opposing penalty kill.
The formula appears to be working. Nashville already has four different players with multiple power play goals and 10 different players have recorded at least one power play point as well. Last year, Nashville had just seven players with multiple PP goals and only 14 players with at least one PP point.
Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_