Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/22/13
Predators coach Barry Trotz’s confidence in his group’s defense never waned. Not when it started 0-2-0 and not when it allowed seven goals in its first two games and opponents averaged 3.25 goals per contest in its first four games. That is why Trotz said he always knew the Predators’ ability to defend eventually would rrive — and it has in a big way with Nashville allowing just three goals in its past three games. “It’s teaching it’s practice it’s repetition it’s the things as coaches we try to do and you need your core group to buy into what you’re doing” Trotz said. “Then you see results.” A year after Nashville fell to 20th in the NHL in goals per game (2.77) there were some issues with the Predators’ defense coming into 2013-14. Even though Nashville acquired forwards more known for their 200-foot games than offensive leanings the team didn’t know how all the new faces would blend into the group as a five-man unit. And when Nashville allowed almost 3.6 goals per game in the preseason — tack that onto the tough defensive start — it seemed like the Predators would fall back into the 2012-13 trap and not cement themselves as a defensive team. But that hasn’t been the case. Heading into Monday’s games Nashville allowed 2.33 goals per game good for seventh in the NHL. It’s not that the Predators worked more on defense in practice. The team has started to find its symmetry and the two-way players up front have gotten chemistry in their own zone. “If we defend well we want to be in every game and we’re getting offense out of our defense and to me it’s the way we play” Trotz said. “This is how we do things here.” Stalberg speeding up: Forward Viktor Stalberg still hasn’t gotten out of Nashville’s fourth line and still hasn’t played more than 10:29 his past four games. But the Predators are starting to see more of his ability. “I think he’s catching up to the moving train” Trotz said. Stalberg was signed to a four-year $12 million contract in the offseason. He has yet to record a point but also isn’t being put in many offensive situations.
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