So you want to play with the big boys?
So you think you are a Stanley Cup contender?
The Predators found out that they are wanting in both counts as the Penguins spanked them 5-1 at the Consol Energy Center.
Perhaps the Predators have spent too much time reading their press clippings.
Because the got a thorough whipping by the Penguins and found out that perhaps they are not ready for prime time.
Here are some observations from tonight's game:
Pekka Rinne wasn't sharp on the first goal by the Penguins as the puck deflected off his glove and into the goal on the Penguins first shot of the game. On the next goal, the puck was re-directed off a deflection and then the defense hung Rinne out to dry on the next two goals. Hard to come back when the play in front of Rinne was as bad as it was tonight.
The Predators had some great scoring chances, but could not finish. Nick Spaling and Sergei Kostitsyn missed some glorious scoring chances that could have made the tenor of the contest different, but could did not bury their chances. Good teams finish those opportunities.
The Penguins won most of the puck battles tonight. Good teams win those and pretenders do not. Figure out which team was which tonight.
Alexander Radulov made his presence felt as he had the only goal for the Predators. I suspect that Radulov looked around and thought that the KHL played better defense than he saw tonight from the Predators.
Perhaps the Predators would be better served by playing hockey and not reading their press clippings.
One of the best Predators on the ice tonight was Gabriel Bourque. He had good jump and competed all night for the puck and created some chances. Unfortunately, his teammates did not follow suit.
I contend that the Predators HAVE to get their game together and enter the playoffs with momentum. Right now, this team is sloughing toward the playoffs, and that is not a formula for success.
Craig Smith, Brandon Yip, and Sergei Kostitsyn were the only Predators that did not end up with a minus tonight, and they were even for the game. Draw your conclusions, but defensively, the Predators were awful.
Bottom line, the Predators are not playing like a team ready for the playoffs. They are inconsistent and too soft with the puck. This team needs to get an edge and play like they want games, rather than hoping good things happen. The Penguins showed the Predators what a playoff bound team looks like. The Predators could not match their effort or their intensity. This is what playoff teams do. Tonight, the Predators were not remotely close to looking like a playoff team.
It is time for the Predators to re-focus and get their game together. It is time for them to get an edge and play with intensity.
There are 8 games left in the regular season.
Time to get your act together boys.
My three stars:
1. Anyone wearing a Pens sweater