Sunday, December 26, 2010

Predators Goal Drought Continues in 2-0 Loss to Blues

Dear Santa,

I know that Christmas is over, but I really want to ask for one more present. Can we please get the Predators some offense? They have been really good guys, but this inability to score goals is getting on everyone's nerves, and frankly, I don't think they can keep up their sunny disposition.

The last four games, the Predators have only scored 3 goals. That's awfully weak, Santa. So if you could find your way back to the Bridgestone Arena, I would appreciate it if you could leave Coach Trotz some scorers.


Your friend,


P.S. I will send you another letter to talk to you about that tie you left for me. Really, pink and purple are just not my colors.

A plea to Santa notwithstanding, the Nashville Predators fell to the St. Louis Blues 2-0 behind a shutout from Jaroslav Halak. Not that the Predators didn't have chances. They did. They fired 32 shots at the St. Louis net, and generated some quality chances. The problem for the Predators is that no one could finish a scoring chance. Halak made some good saves, but the Predators did not have anyone that could capitalize on the scoring opportunities they had.

Yes, the Predators were missing Steve Sullivan and Marty Erat, and that meant that lines were jumbled. This obviously affected the chemistry in the offensive end. The fact is that when the Predators generated chances, no one could bury a critical shot.

Pekka Rinne got the start for the Predators, and generally was very solid in net. He had to be sharp early as the Blues swarmed the Predators net, and he was equal to the task.

Rinne did give up a goal to David Backes that he would like to have back. Cody Franson turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Backes skated in and fired a wrister from the face off circle that beat Rinne over the shoulder on the glove side at 1:45 of the second period.

Frankly, after the Blues got on the board first, one would have to wonder and worry if that would be all the scoring they would need given the Predators anemic offensive production. Unfortunately, that proved to be the case.

Backes would add an empty netter at 19:43 for the final margin of victory for the Blues.

The Predators are going to have to get their offense going. The streaky nature of this offense does not bode well for the team, and our losing streaks have been directly related to our lack of goals. The offense has to get back to the basics: create turnovers with the forecheck; take good shots; and crash the net. There has to be a consistent effort in these areas every game for this team to be successful.

It is unknown how long Erat and Sullivan will be out of the lineup. Losing key players is a fact of life every team has to deal with during the course of a long season. Players have to step up and fill the vacated roles. They have to play like professionals.

Linus Klasen was called up from Milwaukee and was playing a top 6 forward role tonight. This is your opportunity, young man. Time for you to bring it.

Vets, you are in the lineup for a reason. It is time for you to elevate your game. The four straight losses mean that you have to show your leadership and do the hard things to win a game.

And it's time to end this drought

My three stars:

1. Jaroslav Halak

2. David Backes

3. Pekka Rinne

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