Chances. Lots of chances. And failure to convert those chances cost the Predators their fifth straight loss, this time to the evil Detroit Red Wings by a score of 4-2. This despite outshooting Detroit 48-29.
The Predators played with good jump, but couldn't overcome two power play goals and a goal by Henrik Zetterberg from an impossible angle that netminder Dan Ellis should have stopped- HAD to stop. Detroit also scored almost immediately after a power play, a goal that occurred just as J.P. Dumont was coming out of the box. Essentially a power play goal.
Francis Buillon tied the game at one late in the first period with a nice srister that beat etroit goalie Jimmie Howard to the glove side. Detroit took a two goal lead with a power play goal and the aforementioned even strength goal to go in to the third period leading by two.
Shea Weber cut the lead to one with a wrister from the face off circle, and the Predators were swarming and peppering Howard with pucks. Howard was exceptional, but the way the Predators were playing, one just felt that it was a matter of time before they would tie the game.
That feeling quickly evaporated as Zetterberg fired a puck off the end board and got his own rebound. He shot the puck at the net from behind Ellis, and it banked off his shoulder an in for the backbreaking goal. Ellis was slow getting to the post, and it gave a goal scorer like Zetterberg the opening he needed.
The Predators had numerous chances but just could not convert. Patric Hornqvist hit a crossbar on a breakaway. Cal O'Reilly had a wide open net and hit the crossbar. Jason Arnott, J.P. Dumont, and David Legwand all had point blank chances that they couldn't bury. Steve Sullivan couldn't convert on a breakaway. Chances. Lots of chances. The inability to finish. The result, the Predators have now dropped their fifth and are struggling to stay in the playoff race.
Ten points have now been left out on the ice. Ten precious points that we will need for the playoffs. Those ten points are history. It's time to get back to winning hockey. Keep playing like you did tonight and the hockey gods will begin to smile on you, boys.
Tonight, you saw what you have to do to win. Shoot the puck and crash the crease. You generated chances, now finish them.
Ellis or Rinne, one of you has to step up and say that you are the starter. The soft goals are unacceptable. Time for one of you to play like a champion.
You now have eight games before the Olympic break. Sixteen points. An eight game season, if you will. It's time to put the past five games behind you and go out and play Predator hockey. time to play with an edge. Dare I say, it's time to play with some desperation. No excuses. No slipping out of the playoffs. No quit.