The Nashville Predators are no strangers to one-goal games. Currently on a five-game winning streak, tied with Chicago for the longest in the National Hockey League, each of those decisions have been decided by a single tally.
In fact, all of Nashville’s previous 10 games have been decided by one goal. The Predators are 7-3-0 in those games.
To start the season, only twice in the first 10 games was a Predators contests decided by one goal. With a 5-4-1 record to start the season, the Predators were winning and losing games by two and three goal margins.
Prior to the current five-game winning streak, when games were decided by one goal, Nashville was more often than not on the losing side.
In fact, in 13 contests decided by a single goal before the current winning streak, Nashville lost 9 of them.
The dramatic come-from-behind win in Columbus on December 8th seems to have been a turning point for the team. Down two goals with an empty net, Nashville tied the game by scoring twice in the final two minutes and then Colin Wilson potted the overtime game winner.
Nashville has not lost since the Columbus game.
Head Coach Barry Trotz says the Predators are just returning to Predators-style hockey. “We are getting comfortable playing those one-goal games, which is more of our DNA. I’d like to give Peks some breathing room one night, but that hasn’t been the case,” he said.
Predators hockey is typically the one goal thrillers, not the 5-3 or 3-0 wins Nashville enjoyed earlier in the season.
By this point in the season a year ago, the Predators already had 19 (of their first 32) games being decided by one goal. The Predators won 11 of those games and another 5 were decided in overtime or the shootout allowing the Predators to pick up points in 16 of 19 one-goal contests in the first half of the season.
With 18 one-goal games, Nashville is on par with last year’s record but with 6 less points accumulated through the one-goal games.
With their current five-game winning streak all being decided by one goal, Nashville is back to playing the type of hockey that Coach Trotz says is in his team’s DNA. From 4-5-4 in one-goal games to 9-5-4 in a manner of a five-game span, Nashville will look to continue that trend as it goes down the stretch in an attempt to make the playoffs for a third straight year.
“It is sort of like the game, you can’t say we are going to play this particular way and be successful. Sometimes the game makes you play a certain way to be successful,” Trotz explained.
The Predators will try to continue their winning streak Tuesday night when they travel to Washington. Nashville has beat the Capitals already once this season when the beat the Capitals at home on November 15th by a 3-1 score.