Posts tagged Cody Franson
The Nashville Predators visit the Anaheim Ducks tonight in game one of the Western Conference Quarter-Finals. The Predators just narrowly missed out on home ice advantage when they lost last Saturday, 2-0, against the Blues to end out the regular season.
Anaheim’s top line consists of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Getzlaf. Combined the three have 103 goals and 142 assists.
Predators defenseman Cody Franson says the key to playing against Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan is to play a physical game. “They are probably the best line in the League. When you are playing against guys of that calibre, that size and that skill set, you want to play physical against them and take away their time and space. You know, make it tough on them,” he said.
The Boston Bruins are the only team in the NHL that the Nashville Predators have never completed a transaction with since the Expansion Draft in 1998. But that doesn’t mean the teams don’t have any connections.
Take for example Milan Lucic, the Bruins leading goal scorer. The Vancouver native’s 53 points going into Saturday night’s tilt against Toronto is a season career-high. Lucic played junior hockey with Cody Franson and Jon Blum for the Vancouver Giants, winning a Memorial Cup together in 2007.
Lucic says he has a lot of good memories and good times shared with Franson and Blum, which makes playing against them at the NHL level “pretty cool.”
The Nashville Predators have scored 84 goals this season, 15 of them have come from defensemen. Nashville is among the elite in teams that boast defense corps which aid in registering goals with only Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Washington and Buffalo with more blue line tallies. For a team that lacks that Sidney Crosby or even Rick Nash-type star forward, the Predators are a much more dangerous team when the defense jumps into the play.
Last year 32 of Nashville’s 225 goals were scored by defensemen, 14%. Of course, that includes Shea Weber’s 16 tallies. This year, the Predators rank in the top ten for NHL scoring by defensemen, with 15 goals in 33 games, only five have come off the stick of Weber.
Head coach Barry Trotz notes that Nashville’s defensemen can all skate well and that makes it possible for them to jump up into the play to create odd-man situations. As a result, four of the Predators top six defensemen are on pace to break last years totals, and those totals may be smashed, not just broken.
In the NHL, teams can win games on the strength of their power play. The penalty kill, likewise, can keep a team in games. For the Nashville Predators, while their penalty kill has improved steadily from the start of the season, the power play has gone in the other direction. Through 21 games, Nashville has scored 9 power play goals in 78 opportunities — but two of them came Friday afternoon when the team was already losing 4-0 in the third period to the Wild.
It is too early to know if the late efforts from Nashville on Friday will act as a turning point in sparking the Predators offense. But one thing is for certain, when you struggle to score goals at even strength, the man advantage can be a real difference maker. And the Predators have struggled to score goals as of late, scoring just 3 times in the last three games.
When asked about the Predators scoring woes, Coach Barry Trotz said “One of the biggest mistakes that the Nashville Predators make is when we say well we got to score lots of goals. All of a sudden we are not Nashville Predator-like and therefore we will lose 6-4 or something like that. That’s not the way we play. Our team identity is that we play solid team defense as a group and piggy back some of our offense off of that.”