Topic: An Offensive Engine Built With Defensive Parts

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This topic contains 0 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  castillo1 2 years, 11 months ago.

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    The Predators are a high speed, up tempo, offense first hockey team, with their eyes locked in on the opposing goalie and their hearts set on dismantling the scoreboard, goal by goal. Except, uhh, no they aren’t. At least not in the playoffs. While the narrative behind a Peter Laviolette coached team is often that of a high paced goal scoring frenzy, this has been far from the product we’ve seen on the ice in these playoffs. They have been fine on offense , but the key to their success has been their defense. Along with the exceptional play of Pekka Rinne, the Predators have been a defense first, counter attacking team that has used a quick transition game to generate offense. Through 10 games of the playoffs, the Predators rank 4th among all playoff teams in shot attempts allowed per sixty minutes Pontus Aberg Jersey. They allow just under 55 shot attempts per hour, all the while generating about the same amount at the other end. By comparison, the ultra defensive minded Kings and Bruins allowed right at 50 shot attempts per game in the regular season. In the Chicago series, the Preds did this with an extremely effective 1-4 neutral zone trap that forced puck carriers to either dump-in or turn the puck over in the neutral zone Pekka Rinne Jersey. In the St. Louis series, the Preds didn’t change much tactically, but they did have to adjust to a larger much more physical opponent that liked to throw its weight around. It took some adjustment, but it worked a charm in the end. After all, a team that has very little skill to go around isn’t going to find that skill by dumping and chasing. But the neutral zone is only half the battle. Eventually the puck will find its way into the defensive zone and the tough sledding begins. Keeping guys like Patrick Kane, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jaden Schwartz, and Paul Stastny out of the middle of the ice is hard work. You aren’t going to win all of those high danger battles. You only have to win most of them, which the Preds have done so far. They rank 2nd among playoff teams in high danger shot attempts allowed per hour, behind only the Minnesota Wild . And when it comes to shots on goal, the Preds are among the best in the playoffs at limiting what Rinne has to deal with. They rank 3rd in shots allowed per game, 1st among teams still in the playoffs. When you have such a solid defensive structure, things open up for your offense. This works especially well for a team like Nashville that has such great speed and counter attacking ability. This is how the Preds have been able to advance this far in the playoffs. They’ve turned great defense into quick offense.I went back and watched every even strength goal , looking at who scored these goals and how. I counted the number of seconds the Preds spent in the offensive zone before scoring the goal, starting with the moment they had possession of the puck in the zone. I also counted odd man rushes. Not counting “The Shift” the Preds spent an average of 5.4 seconds in the offensive zone before scoring these goals. In hockey terms, that is extremely fast. Not only that, four of these goals came off odd man rushes while only one came as a direct result of an offensive zone start.

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