Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shift after goal crucial for maintaining momentum

Momentum in sports really has a way of affecting the outcome of the game. The team that grabs the momentum and is able to maintain it has a high likelihood of coming away with the victory.

At times so far this season, the Nashville Predators have had trouble maintaining their momentum after scoring a goal. It's become a point of emphasis for the Predators, and it will be a crucial lesson to master heading into playoff time.

"That's what we talk about all the time. The start of periods, the end of periods and the shift right after a goal are big momentum shifts. They're key. If you want to get anything rolling on your side, you have to keep the momentum. There are certain moments in a game that are more important than others," said Predators Captain Shea Weber.

So far this season, the opposition has scored eight goals against the Predators less than a minute after a Nashville goal. The Predators are 2-5-1 in those games. That's eight times that the Predators have let the momentum of the game slip away.

On Tuesday night's game against Los Angeles, the Predators fell victim to this problem again. Patric Hornqvist scored a goal at 18:41 of the first period to tie the game at one for Nashville. On the very next shift, the Kings responded with a goal that once again gave them control of the game.

"If you score a goal, you get the momentum. The crowd is into the game. They want to be a part of helping you have some success, and before they announce the goal, they're announcing their goal. That's not how to take momentum and go forward with it," said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz.

Shifts like that are deflating no matter when it happens, but it seems to have an even great effect on the bench at home. It takes the crowd out of the game, which is makes the road team's job a lot easier.

"The fans are getting into it, and they get so excited when you score that goal. You want to keep that momentum going. To lose it, it deflates your team a little bit," said Predators forward Colin Wilson.

This Nashville squad is perhaps as complete of a team as the franchise has ever seen, but the shift after a goal is an area that Trotz and his coaching staff will have to hammer home. It's absolutely crucial for maintaining momentum.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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