The Predators have exited the playoff hunt and are just finishing out the season, and fielded a roster of many AHL call ups due to injuries depleting the roster.
Pekka Rinne took the loss as the Blues Alex Steen scored the lone goal of the game at 16:37 of the second period. Steen blew a shot past Rinne and that was enough for the Blues to hold off the offensively challenged Predators.
Brian Elliott got the win, and he was never really challenged by the Predators.
The Blues out shot the Predators 26-15, including a 15-4 advantage in the second period. The Predators did not record their first shot on goal in that period until 7:12 of the period.
Welcome To The Show
Daniel Bang was called up from Milwaukee and made his first appearance in an NHL game. The Predators roster tonight included 11 players that have played in Milwaukee this season. The talent gap between the Blues and the Predators roster was glaringly evident all night.
Veterans Are A No Show
With a roster of so many young players that have been called up due to injury, the Predators had to have veteran players step up to take up the slack and to have an opportunity to win this game. They failed miserably. David Legwand did not have a shot on goal and appeared to be unable or unwilling to be strong on the puck and create some offense. Sergei Kostitsyn, Nick Spaling, Austin Watson, Chris Mueller, and Bobby Butler also did not record a shot on goal. It is going to be difficult for the Predators to win any game if these guys cannot get pucks on net.
Craig Smith undoubtedly possesses serious offensive skill, but his game is awful right now. Smith had three shots on goal, but has struggled mightily in the offensive and defensive zones. Hopefully Smith is getting this out of his system because the Predators desperately need him to get his game on track
I don't fault the effort of most of the young Predators. With this roster, the game could have been much worse. This situation presents great opportunity for guys like Daniel Bang, Austin Watson, Taylor Beck, and Chris Mueller, to name a few. They are going to have to play because of the injuries the Predators are contending with, and this is their opportunity to see what it takes to play at the NHL level and to prove they belong. Realistically, they are over matched against NHL regulars, but this is the chance to show they can bring the effort to compete. These young guys are playing for next season, and they need to show they belong on the roster.
The Predators are playing out the string. They will not be in the playoffs, but this is still an opportunity to demonstrate desire, heart, effort, and character. Fail to show that in the remaining games, and the disappointment among the fans will be palpable. Bring a solid effort, confront the adversity this team faces, and this can be a positive that the team can build upon.
The choice is yours, boys.
My three stars:
1.. Alex Steen
2. Brian Elliott
3. Pekka Rinne