Thursday, October 28, 2010

Blues Hand the Predators First Regulation Loss 3-0

Eventually, the Predators were going to lose a game in regulation. The way the Predators lost to was particularly galling to the team and Predators fans as they dropped a 3-0 to the St. Louis Blues.

The troublesome aspect of this loss was the fact that as a group, the forwards for the Predators played their worst game of the young season, failing to generate consistent offensive flow and getting outworked most of the night.

The Predators were outshot in every period and mustered only 24 shot on goal for the contest.

Most of the night, they failed to support the puck in the offensive zone. Give credit to the Blues for their defensive effort, which took the Predators out of their offensive flow throughout the night. Nevertheless, the effort of the forwards was not up to the standards that the team has expected and has to have to win games.

The Predators had some chances, but failed to capitalize on their opportunities. Patric Hornqvist was stoned on a breakaway with a great glove save by Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak. When the Predators had scoring opportunities, they typically shot the puck right into the crest of Halak's jersey. Unlike the Predators first victory against the Blues, they failed to generate much traffic in front of the net and didn't make Halak work very hard to make his saves.

Pekka Rinne got the start for the Predators and made some good saves to keep the game scoreless at the end of the first period.

That would change at 12:56 of the second period. The Predators had just gone into a 30 second power play when Frankie Buillon and Shea Weber both lost track of Alexander Steen in the low slot. He took a nice pass from David Perron from behind the net and roofed a shot over the defenseless Rinne.

With the lack of offense by the Predators, one had a sinking feeling that Steen's goal would be enough for the Blues to skate away with the win. As it was, that goal was enough, even though the Blues would add two more tallies.

Patrick Bergland buried a rebound of a Rinne pad save as he was left alone to Rinne's right side at 12:48 of the second period.

Jordin Tootoo received a five minute major and a game misconduct at 13:11 of the third as he was called for charging into Carlo Colaiacovo. Frankly, it did not look as if it was a charge, but Tootoo will never get the benefit of the doubt on those types of calls.

Matt D'Agostini scored at 15:11 of the third period during the power play. Pekka Rinne was obviously frustrated on the play as D'Agostini was left all alone at the front of the net for an easy goal.

Give props to the Blues for taking the Predators out of their offensive flow, but at the same time, the Predators forwards looked out of sync and frankly didn't work as hard as they have in previous games. For the game, Steve Sullivan, J.P. Dumont, David Legwand, Cal O'Reilly and Martin Erat all had just one shot on goal. Colin Wilson had no shots.

Frankly, that is unacceptable.

The Predators have failed to protect home ice, losing three games in overtime and this game in regulation out of six they have played in the Bridgestone Arena. The Predators have to hold serve at home and play with a greater sense of urgency on their home ice. Perhaps the extended road trip on which they are about to embark will be good for this team.

Production has to come from those players that are expected to produce. Tonight, Dumont, Erat, Legwand, Wilson, O'Reilly, and Sullivan were passengers.For the Predators to have success, they have to be producers.

It should be obvious to the team that an effort like the one put forth tonight is unacceptable. This team knows what it takes to win. Tonight, they did none of those things.

The road and some tough opponents await.

It's time to start bringing the effort that wins games.

My three stars of the game:

1. Jaroslav Halak

2. David Perron

3. Patrick Bergland

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