NHL playoffs: Predators find winning formula with defense

The Nashville Predators boast the most polished defensive group in the NHL today. At least, they are playing as if that’s true.

Nashville’s top four defensemen – Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm – are the primary reason why the Predators are 6-1 in the postseason.

That group has generated seven goals and seven assists in Nashville’s seven games. They are all averaging 23:51 minutes per game or better. Their combined plus-minus is +21.

Ryan Ellis ranks No. 1 in defensemen scoring, with eight points on three goals and five assists. No defensemen still playing in the playoffs has more shots on goal than Josi’s 22.  Subban and Mattias Ekholm are among the leaders in Corsi ratings, which is considered an indicator of puck possession.

The focus has been on goalie Pekka Rinne’s 1.38 goals-against average and .950 save percentage. He’s been a difference-maker to be sure, but his defensemen are contributing mightily to those gaudy numbers.

The Predators are allowing an average of 28.4 shots per game, the lowest among teams…

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