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Nino's struggles are simple, now he just needs to fix them

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nino Niederreiter got his first 5v5 point in 11 games on Tuesday night. It's not terribly hard to see he was having issues, causing some to guess that Nino was nursing an injury of some kind.

While Nino's defensive numbers have been as strong as ever, posting a very consistent 6-8 shot attempts against per game at 5v5, it's his offensive numbers that have been cause for concern. Beside not scoring a goal in over a month, for a very-low Sh% of 0, Nino hadn't put up an assist since November 19.

This is not to say Nino is an elite two-way forward, rather to illustrate that Nino has been very consistent on the defensive side of the ice; his struggles have been limited solely to offensive output.

At first glance, Nino's offensive numbers (aside from points) appear to be consistent as well, with anywhere between 6-10 shot attempts per game. The big difference, rather, is in Nino's individual shot attempts. Nino took 4 cracks at goal on November 25. Beyond that, you need to look all the way back to November 17 to find a game in which Nino created more than 1 attempt on goal. That simply isn't enough.

So, the bad news is that Nino has not been shooting nearly enough, causing a lot of his offensive output to falter. The good news, is that it's a pretty easy fix: get forward and shoot more.

The other part of the equation that doesn't show up in the numbers is Nino's play style and how it has changed through this slump. Nino is known for physical play along the boards, getting to the front of the net, and a hard wrist shot. Since the slump began, Nino has began playing more passively. He isn't driving to the net like he normally does. He hasn't been taking the shots he sees.

Nino is held back by two things: confidence and over-thinking his game. Both are results of the point drought, and hopefully Tuesday night helps give him the confidence back. When a player is on a streak, they aren't thinking hard, and they play better because of it. When they're in a slump, they start second-guessing their instincts, and the problem is exacerbated.

If Nino can keep out of his own way and play his natural game, we should see him producing in no time.