Smashville Uses Defense to Take 3rd Place in the Division

NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 29: Nashville Predators center Luke Kunin (11) congratulates goalie Juuse Saros (74), of Finland, at the conclusion of the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators, held on March 29, 2022, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Last night, Smashville lived up to their nickname by putting on a defensive display against the Ottawa Senators. This defensive effort led to a 4 – 1 victory for the Predators. After this win, Nashville has currently moved past St. Louis to capture 3rd place in the Central Division. The Preds may only lead the Blues by a single point in the divisional standings, but a lead is a lead nonetheless.

It has long appeared that Smashville was destined to be, a possible, Wild Card team in the Western Conference. However, Juuse Saros’ tremendous ability, and leadership, on the defensive end of the floor held Ottawa to only 1 goal yesterday. This result gives Nashville some hope that they could potentially end up being in the top 3 of the Central division once playoff time comes. Since the Preds struggle to find a consistent offensive attack, they will need Saros to continue being a superstar in every game. For example, last night Saros had a 97.3% save rate, by allowing 1 goal on 37 Senators shot attempts.

If the Predators want to keep control of 3rd place in their division, they are also going to need the rest of the team to put more of an emphasis on defense, not just the goalie. Even though Saros saved 36 of 37 shots by Ottawa last night, Nashville were only able to muster 31 shots themselves. This set of statistics depicts that in order for Smashville to maintain their defensive efficiency from the previous game, the entire team needs to embrace the right defense oriented style of play. It would help if the offense could get more shots on goal, but winning as a result of defense seems much more likely for this Predators squad.

In conclusion, the Predators looked fantastic last night against the Senators. They were able to hold Ottawa to a single goal, which catapulted Smashville into 3rd place in the Central Division. Juuse Saros was undoubtedly the player of the game, but the Preds will need the whole team to pick up their intensity on defense in order to retain their current standing once the playoffs begin. The next opportunity for Nashville to showcase their skill will be on Friday against the Buffalo Sabres, which is a game Smashville has no reason to lose.

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