Saturday, October 26, 2013

Blues Embarrass the Predators 6-1


That is the only way to describe the Predators effort against the St. Louis Blues in a 6-1 loss at Bridgestone Arena.

The Blues controlled play throughout the game and brought Predators netminder Carter Hutton back to reality, chasing him in the third period after tallying 5 goals. Hutton got no help from his defense and was mercifully pulled for Magnus Hellberg midway of the third.

The Predators got no offensive push at all from their forwards, rarely challenging Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. The few times they did pressure the net, Halak was up to the challenge. The Predators only goal came on a shorthanded shot from Nick Spaling 52 seconds into the third period.

The Blues are a measuring stick for the Predators, a division rival that has built their team through the draft, much like Nashville. The game tonight shows that the Blues have done a much better job of building a team of talented players that border on elite.

By contrast, the Predators have a team of grinders- guys that work hard and hustle but are not remotely elite.

That falls on GM David Poile.

The Predators have failed to develop offensive talent that can compete against one of the better teams in the league. Yes, there is some potential in a few players, but the reality is that against a team that is tight checking and physical, the Predators lack players that can create offensively and have the potential to change the course of a game.

And the Predators do not have the players on this roster that can do that.

Some observations:

  • Carter Hutton was under siege for most of the game. The 5th goal he allowed was probably the only one that he should have legitimately should have stopped. Too often, the defensive breakdowns allowed the Blues some prime scoring chances, and they capitalized.

  • The defensive pairing of Ryan Ellis and Victor Bartley was absolutely brutal. Both were -3 and were dominated by the Blues forwards when they were on the ice. Ellis does not have the physical ability to handle big, talented power forwards and the Blues took advantage of him when he was on the ice. An indication of how bad this pairing played? The Predators went nearly 6 minutes into the third period before they saw the ice.

  • Craig Smith, Patric Hornqvist, and Matt Cullen showed good hustle and attempted to get the offense going when they were on the ice. Smith had a team high 6 shots for the game.

  • David Legwand, Gabriel Bourque, and Colin Wilson were invisible tonight. The Predators need these guys to get their game going consistently. Bourque in particular needs to find the net and get his scoring touch back.
The Predators embark on a 17 game road trip. After this debacle, this team needs to find their offensive touch and confidence.

Maybe the road is the place to do that.

My three stars:

1. Alex Steen

2. T.J. Oshie

3. Jaden Schwartz

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