Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Emergence of Martin Erat

It seems like this happens every year. Martin Erat has a stretch throughout the course of a season where he is on fire. Erat currently finds himself in one of those stretches.

In the last five games, Erat has nine points(3G, 6A)and has tallied at least two points in the last four games, which ties a franchise record for consecutive multi-point games. He has 13 shots on goal in the same five game span, which shows that he's all over the puck and the net.

Erat is currently second on the team in points behind Shea Weber with 42(Weber has 43). So, what caused the sudden outbreak in production from Erat, and why doesn't it happen consistently throughout a season?

Erat, and his entire line, have been on fire lately. David Legwand and Joel Ward are also kicking their scoring into gear, and they're doing it at the best possible time for the Predators. Nashville finds itself right on the cusp of the Top 8 in the Western Conference.

One problem with this team this year, and really most every year, is the fact that they do not put up a ton of goals. Martin Erat and David Legwand are guys that are paid to score goals, and they are currently doing a good job of it in this last little stretch of games. However, that brings us to the 2nd problem that has plagued the Predators this year: Inconsistency. The Preds have been one of the most inconsistent teams in the NHL this year, which has contributed to the fact that they're currently on the outside looking in as far as the playoff race goes.

Nashville has 13 games left on the schedule, 10 of which are at home. Bill Clement said it best Friday on NHL Live when he said "The table is set for Nashville to make the playoffs". Erat is going to be a big determining factor in whether or not that is going to happen. He's supposed to be a consistent offensive threat, and a veteran winger on the team. Guys like Erat and Legwand, not Geofrrion and Halischuk, are going to be the key in whether or not Nashville makes the playoffs. Obviously Geoffrion and Haslichuk are fine hockey players, but Erat and Legwand are the guys who have a leadership role on the team. They are the two longest tenured Predators that are currently on the roster.

Lines don't often last very long in the world of Barry Trotz, but Legwand and Erat have always worked well together in the past. If the production keeps up for them, there's no way that line should be changed. These are the guys that are paid to do the job. It's time they were made to do it.

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