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Nashville Predators

Predators vs. Avalanche Plus/Minus: Cody Glass Has Career Night



Photo of Cody Glass, left, and Kiefer Sherwood by John Russell/Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators have won eight straight following their 5-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.

After a slow start, the Predators put on a textbook performance led by a Cody Glass hat trick and a standout performance from goaltender Juuse Saros, who posted a .962 save percentage and 1.08 goals-saved above expected. 

There’s no doubt these performances are shaping general manager Barry Trotz’s approach to the March 8 trade deadline. Trotz has repeatedly said the players will tell him whether the team is a buyer or seller, and they’re sending a clear message to the front office.

With every game you take the good with the bad, so here’s a breakdown of what went right and what didn’t during the Predators decisive win over Colorado Saturday night:

(+) Cody Glass and quick transitions 

After struggling for multiple years since turning pro including a rough start to this season, Glass earned his first career NHL hat trick. He’s been noticeable all over the ice recently, and he finally found the back of the net — twice from the high slot and a third with an empty net to ice the win.

Glasss first goal was exactly what head coach Andrew Brunette is seeking to implement: push the puck forward quickly out of the defensive zone and create a blitzed rush into the offensive zone. Glass’ positioning on the goal in tandem with Ryan McDonagh’s awareness and Colton Sissons’ pass to find Glass in the slot is picture-perfect execution that couldn’t have been draw up any better. 


The second goal was created when Glass found some open space and Tommy Novak made a crisp pass in front for Glass to bury the puck in similar fashion as the first from the high slot. 


Glass’ third goal seemed to be willed by all of his teammates, who said as much after the game. Everyone in the Nashville locker room respects Glass’ grit and determination to be a successful professional. McDonagh was determined to find Glass on this shift to solidify the hat trick. 


There couldn’t have been a better finish for a player who needed a game like Saturday. Glass’ emotions were evident in his post-game interview after being named the first star of the game. 

(+) Tommy Novak

Novak is starting to find his game again after having a bit of a slump after returning from injury earlier this season. Against the Avs, Novak proved why he deserves an extension with Nashville, which appears to be close to being finalized, and that the second-line center position is his for the taking.

He finished the night with a goal and an assist with both being worthy of the highlight reel. His goal was another example of how Brunette’s system is designed to be implemented. It was similar to Glass’ first goal where a player in the defensive zone (this time Saros) makes a quick pass out of the zone to a player at the red line or far blue line (Novak) for the quick rush. Novak took it from there.


(-) Slow Start

There’s really not many negatives to take from this game, and this is just me being nit-picky. In the first eight minutes or so, Nashville was getting caught along the edges and allowing Colorado’s speed to potentially take over the game. Nashville’s kryptonite this season has been losing the battles on the edges and in the corners. However, the Predators won the 50/50 pucks and limited Colorado’s chances.

A perfect example of these battles being won (which the team was losing frequently a month ago) is Gustav Nyquist’s doggedness late in the corner to strip the puck from Jack Johnson and draw a hooking penalty that led Novak’s power-play goal. Other than the two Nathan MacKinnon opportunities — one on the loan Colorado goal and another catching Alexander Carrier in transition with seconds remaining in the second — Nashville kept Colorado at bay.


(+) The Cole Smith-Michael McCarron-Kiefer Sherwood line

This line was fantastic against the Avalanche. They were all over the ice, demonstrating their confidence and pulling the team along, especially when they were slow to start in the first eight minutes or so of the game. This line isn’t meant to produce tons of offense, so analytically it wasn’t anything eye opening, but it was evident that their heavy play along with some speed really brought the Predators forward and gave them some life early on.

When Sherwood attempts a between the legs pass from behind the offensive zone net, you know this team is clicking. For a “fourth line,” they were noticeable every shift. In addition to scoring, these are the depth contributions Trotz and Brunette love to see. It’s these moments off the scoresheet that have been a massive contributing factor to this extended win streak.

Follow Clay Brewer on Twitter/X: @ClayBrewer10

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