Nashville Predators: Balanced Offense Making Up For Shea Weber's Poor Start

By Jonathan Katje
Nashville Martin Erat
Randy Sartin – USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators certainly didn’t look like a playoff-bound team early on in the 2013 NHL season, as they lost five of their first six games (three of them in shootouts). Since then, they have been one of the hottest teams in the league and have won four straight games.

The Predators’ most recent win was an impressive 3-0 shutout of the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings. Goaltender Pekka Rinne was phenomenal for a fourth straight game, turning aside 32 shots. Nashville got the win despite only taking 14 shots, as Colin Wilson scored twice. The win over the Kings came on the heels of an important division win over the St. Louis Blues.

The Predators took it to the Blues on Tuesday, with six different players getting goals. Three of the team’s goals came from defenseman, which is a great sign for a team that has limited weapons up front. Ryan Ellis got his second goal of the season on the power play and Kevin Klein scored his first goal and now has five points on the season. Rich Clune got his first goal as a Predator and young center Nick Spaling also scored, while Martin Erat netted his team-leading third goal of the season. With captain Shea Weber still unable to connect on the offensive end of the ice, the team will need to continue to get scoring from its third and fourth lines to stay competitive. Weber, normally good for 40 points or more for the Predators, has just one assist in 10 games.

The Predators have a chance to stay hot Saturday night when they take on a struggling Minnesota Wild team. Chris Mason will get the spot start in net tonight, as Nashville has a tough match-up against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday and will need Rinne well rested.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to your network on Google.

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