Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wounded Predators Waste a Solid Effort Against the Stars

The Nashville Predators depleted lineup gave the Dallas Stars a challenge before falling 4-2 at the Bridgestone Arena. With this loss, the Nashville Predators have dropped 5 straight games.

The Predators were missing five forwards, with David Legwand, Matthew Lombardi, Steve Sullivan, and Martin Erat all out due to injury. Jordin Tootoo is out of the lineup since checking in to the League's substance abuse program.

Steve "Cheap Shot" Ott opened the scoring for the Stars at 4:39 of the second period after taking a nice backhand pass from Loui Erikkson. Ott tapped the puck home past an out of position Pekka Rinne to give the Stars a 1-0 lead.

The Predators would answer on the power play at 19:00 minutes of the second as Colin Wilson was lurking around the net and put a shot over the pads of Andrew Raycroft. Wilson corralled a rebound off a shot from J.P. Dumont and slapped home the tying goal.

Through two periods, the Predators outshot the Stars by a margin of  34-15, but could not solve Raycroft. The Predators had numerous scoring chances, but could not finish their chances. This inability to finish scoring chances was going to come back to haunt the Predators in this contest.

Wilson would strike again for his second goal just 32 seconds into the third period as he lifted a backhand past Raycroft on a breakaway. For the first time in five games, the Predators would have a lead. This was a very solid game for Wilson, perhaps the best he has played in his young career.

That lead was short lived, however, as Loui Eriksson would score from the slot with a quick wrist shot that beat Rinne high over the glove side. Erikkson was able to take advantage of a breakdown in the defensive coverage and was alone in the low slot.

Dallas would take the lead at  8:18 of the third as Mark Fistric would let a shot go from the point that beat Rinne. That goal seemed to take all the air out of the Predators. Krys Barch would tally the fourth goal for the Stars at 10:05 as he crashed the net and beat Rinne with a wrist shot.

The Predators could not answer and fell for the fifth straight time. Dallas evened their record against Nashville to 1-1 for the season.

The Predators outshot the Stars 46-25 for the contest, but the inability to bury some quality scoring chances proved to be their undoing.

Chris Mueller made his NHL debut for the Predators, and logged 3:17 of ice time. Linus Klasen played his second game for the Predators and had 14:48 of ice time and two shots on goal.

The injuries have obviously taken a toll on the Predators, but tonight's contest brings home the point that the Predators have to take advantage of their chances offensively and cannot have any defensive lapses. Three Stars goals were the result of defensive coverage that broke down.

The Predators are a team that has no margin for error. Tonight, a few defensive errors cost them a much needed win. This game also points out the fact that the offense has to finish the scoring chances that they have. Give credit to Raycroft for 44 saves, but frankly, he is not that good of a goalie. Bury a few of the chances that you have, and the Predators run the Stars out of the building. Tonight, the Predators made the Stars look good.

This is a painful losing streak. The only way that you get out of this is to play hard and bring this kind of effort every night. Keep up this type of play, and this streak will be broken.

This is part of hockey. You have to play with the guys that put on the sweater and bring it every night. Keep up this kind of effort and the wins will come.

Wounded or not, the only way to end this losing streak is to play your way out of it.

My three stars:

1. Loui Erikkson

2. Colin Wilson

3. Andrew Raycroft

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