In preparation for today's game against the Preds, we thought we'd get to know them a little better. To help us out, we elicited the help of Chris Burton. You know him on Twitter as @Predatweeter.
As far as Preds fans go, he's pretty cool.
1. What happened with Colorado yesterday? Was that game as stupid as the boxscore says it was?
The game was stupider than the box score said it was. Colorado's defense is horrible, Nashville's stayed on the bus, and Chris Mason looked like a backup goalie - in the KHL. It's hard to blame any one thing for that disaster, and I'm certainly not putting it all on the blind linesmen, because any time the NASHVILLE PREDATORS score five goals, they ought to win. I'd call it an aberration. Rinne came in and locked it down, and hey, he's a lot of the reason the Predators have the league's best defense anyway.
2. The Preds continue to defy traditional hockey sabremetrics by winning games while losing in puck possession metrics. How long does something unsustainable have to sustain before it's the expected norm?
That's the elephant in the room, honestly. We saw the Minnesota Wild crash and burn last year, and most expect the Preds to do the same, but they just never do. Part of it is the system - they grind their way to some ugly goals, get a lead, and then play bend-but-basically-never-break defense. At that point, score effects take over, and the numbers look grisly with the opponents constantly trying to break the defense. But the other part of the equation is this - the Predators are absolutely awful on offense, and Pekka Rinne is the great equalizer.
I'm not sure that entirely answers the question, but it's a roundabout way of getting to this point - Nashville has won games like this for a very long time. It's coaching, it's defense, it's hard work, and I don't expect it to stop as long as Weber and Rinne are healthy.
3. Obviously we've seen how much Ryan Suter has struggled after leaving his defensive pairing and a system which he knew very well. How's Shea Weber done in Suter's absence though?
Until recently, Shea Weber's box score stats had been ugly. He was still playing all-world defense, moving the play in the right direction, making Roman Josi look like Ryan Suter, and making Scott Hannan look like an NHL player again. The latter point is particularly important. We often wondered if it was Suter making Weber look amazing or the reverse, but it was impossible to tell due to them never separating. I think we have our answer.
Oh, and in the last three games? Weber has 13 shots, 1 goal, and 3 assists.