Friday, March 15, 2013

Mistakes Sink the Predators Against the Canucks

The Nashville Predators continued a critical five game road trip in Vancouver to face the Canucks. The Predators were looking to build on the momentum of a win in Dallas in the first game of this swing, and the task was going to be difficult as Rogers Arena has not been a hospitable place for the Predators.

The Predators had Pekka Rinne in net, while the Canucks went with Roberto Luongo.

The game was a wild affair, with the Predators making numerous mistakes and those aforementioned mistakes wound up in the back of the predators net.

Yet the Predators, facing a monumental deficit going into the third period continued to battle back before eventually falling to the Canucks by a 7-4 margin.

While that sounds like the Canucks ran away with the game, the Predators scrambled back in the third period to draw within a a one goal margin at 5-4. The Canucks stretched the margin to 6-4 on a penalty shot by Henrik Sedin and the final score was an empty net goal by David Booth.

Some observations:

Rinne...Wasn't Rinne

After pitching a shutout in his previous game, Rinne gave up 4 goals on 12 shots. I don't fault Rinne on all of the goals he allowed, but he wasn't as sharp as he usually is. The Predators have to have near perfection from Rinne to win, and tonight, he did not have his best game. Rinne was pulled early in the second period in favor of Chris Mason.

The Young Pups Were The Leaders

Matt Halischuk had a goal and an assist; Nick Spaling had a goal; and Gabriel Bourque tallied his team leading 8th goal, which was a beauty. The young guys brought a 60 minute effort and stepped up their game when the Predators were in danger of being run out of the barn. It bodes well for the Predators that the youngsters are producing and contributing solid minutes. Maybe some of the veterans can take a cue from the play of these young players.

Mike Fisher Is Quietly Playing Some Solid Hockey

Fisher had a goal and has been leading with hustle and physical play. After a slow start to his season, Fisher has been consistent and solid. Again, there are some players on the roster that should follow his example.

Can Marty Erat Find His Game?

Let's face it- Marty is having a miserable season. He has been a passenger for most of the season and has contributed nothing to this team. Marty has too much talent to be this unproductive, but the sad fact remains that the team needs Marty and he is nowhere to be found. If the Predators are going to have success in the regular season, much less the playoffs, Marty is going to have to contribute. The question is how much longer can the coaching staff continue to allow Marty to have big minutes without any production?

How Long Before...

we see Austin Watson or Taylor Beck make an appearance? They are having stellar campaigns in Milwaukee and appear ready to make the jump to the big club. With players such as Erat, David Legwand, and Sergei Kostitsyn not contributing, the Predators may be ready to give these guys a shot at producing on the NHL level.

Final Thoughts

This game looked like it was going to get even uglier than it was going into the third period. Kudos to team for showing some heart and battling back. Like any fan, I don't like the loss, but there are positives on which to build. There was fight and grit in this team, and they kept pressing and scrapping to get back into the game. At 5-4, this was anyones game. By not folding their tent, the Predators showed that they can battle back against bleak odds.

Build on that, boys.

You will need to draw on that positive in upcoming games.

My three stars:

1.Jannik Hansen

2. Andrew Ebbett

3. Matt Halischuk

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