The Nashville Predators missed the playoffs last season as their offense struggled to score goals. Early on in the 2013-14 season, it looks like that might be a problem again. The Predators saw many of their games last season decided by one goal, but had a hard time getting wins. So far this season they look to have at least improved on that trend, as they have now won three of their last four games, all of which have been decided by one-goal margins. On Saturday, a great performance by goaltender Pekka Rinne and some clutch scoring from Nashville defensemen carried the team to a win over the Montreal Canadiens, and if the Predators forwards aren;t going to put pucks in the net, seeing their blueliners step up in the defensive zone should at least leave the team with some hope.
Shea Weber and Seth Jones had the goals on Saturday, the second of the season for each player. Weber once again finds himself near the team lead in points, while Jones is looking every bit like the can’t-miss prospect with offensive upside that the Predators were beyond thrilled to get in the draft. When it was Weber and Ryan Suter putting up points for the Predators they were a legitimate threat in the Western Conference, and if Jones can finally fill the void left by Suter it could mean a return to the postseason for the Predators. Rinne looks ready to bounce back from a down season, but still needs offensive support. Ryan Ellis is the only other defenseman with a goal this season, and Weber and Jones need to continue to step up, especially while Roman Josi is out.