Saturday, November 23, 2013

Predators Out Worked and Shut Out By the Rangers 2-0

Nashville Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz gave his team the day off on Friday.

He night want to re-think that strategy as the Predators failed to show up at the Bridgestone Arena, falling 2-0 to the New York Rangers.

The Predators were out worked in all phases of the game. The Rangers choked off the Predators offense. They thwarted their entries with aggressive neutral zone pressure. And they dominated the Predators in the defensive zone, controlling the puck with a solid cycle game, making the Predators chase the puck much of the night.

Normally, the Predators work ethic can carry the team. Tonight, that was absent as the Rangers jumped on the Predators with their pressure and forecheck and never let up.

The Predators had no answers. No one on the team stepped up their game and the team could not handle the forecheck and pressure of the Rangers.

How bad was it?

The Rangers out shot the Predators 34-17, including a dominant 17-7 shot advantage in the second period when the Rangers took control of the game.

Marek Mazanec had to make a number of good saves to keep the score from being worse. He gave up a second period goal to Ryan McDonagh, whose blast from the point beat Mazanec five hole.

The Rangers added a third period goal from Derek Stepan and the game was over for all intents and purposes.

Cam Talbot manned the pipes for the Rangers, and he was rarely challenged by the Predators.

Some observations:

  • The Jekyll and Hyde nature of this team continues to baffle. Their three game win streak prior to this game was solid hockey. Tonight, they reverted to their troubling ways. They could not handle the pressure of the Rangers and the offense was non-existent. The Predators need consistent effort and their top lines have to produce every game. The inability to establish consistency this far into the season is troubling.

  • Mazanec had a solid game for the most. The first goal he allowed was questionable, though. Getting beat five hole from the point cannot happen.

  • When the Predators entered the offensive zone, they showed the troubling tendency to pass first rather than take the shot. In their three game winning streak, the Predators were firing pucks at the net. When this team doesn't shoot and drive the net, they are in trouble. They were in trouble tonight.

  • Patric Hornqvist played only 4 shifts and had 4:07 of ice time. He was hurt in the first period and is called day to day with an upper body injury. Hornqvist was hit up high with a shot from Shea Weber and in the first period and did not return.
This game was a poor effort by the Predators, and it was especially disappointing to see the team get badly outworked.

Hopefully, the Predators revert back to their hard working ways on Monday when they face the Coyotes at home.

My three stars:

1. Ryan McDonagh

2. Derek Steppan

3. Cam Talbot

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