Sunday, November 10, 2013

Predators Suffer Second Embarrassing Loss

The Nashville Predators visited the New Jersey Devils looking to get the sour taste out of their mouth from their flop in Winnipeg in their previous game.

The Predators were going to have to wait a bit longer for that to occur.

The Devils opened the scoring just 90 seconds into the game as Jaromir Jagr circled through the Predators defense and fired a wrist shot that Predators netminder Carter Hutton got a piece of but it glanced off his glove and into the net  for a 1-0 Devils lead.

The Devils stifling defense made it difficult for the Predators to get through the neutral zone and establish quality offensive zone time. The Predators managed 6 shots on Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur, but he did not have to make any difficult saves.

The Devils had 7 shots in the period.

The Devils made it 2-0 at 2:54 as the Devils swarmed the Predators net. Cam Janssen beat Craig Smith to the front of the net to bang home a rebound of a Ryan Carter shot. The Predators defense broke down and allowed Janssen a free run to the front of the net.

The Devils made it 3-0 on the power play with Seth Jones in the box. Just 5 seconds into the power play, former Predator Marek Zidlicky hammered a shot from the blue line that eluded Hutton.

The Devils were having their way with the Predators, and from all appearances, the Predators could do nothing to stop the push from the home team. Much like the previous game in Winnipeg, the Predators were getting out worked in all areas of the ice and losing most of the puck battles.

The Predators weak effort was reflected in the shots on goal in the second period. The Predators managed just 4 shots, while the Devils recorded 12.

The Devils made it 4-0 at 12:57 of the third period off a 3 on 2 rush. Jaromir Jagr fed a beautiful pass to Travis Zajac and he blasted a one timer past Hutton.

The way the Predators were playing, this game was long ago out of reach.

Mattias Tedenby made it 5-0 picked up a loose puck in the Predators offensive zone and walked in alone and roofed a puck over the shoulder of Hutton, who was left alone with the on rushing Devils forward.

Insult to injury.

Surprisingly, the Predators didn't allow any further scores.

Some observations:

  • As good as the Predators had looked at in the early going of this road trip, they have looked absolutely awful over the past two games. They have been outworked in all phases and showed zero compete level. The offense has disappeared and that is a function of will. The Predators have to score from the hard areas, and the past two games- outside of Patric Hornqvist- they have not shown a willingness to go to those areas.

  • The Predators power play was putrid. They went 0-6 tonight and there was no movement or creativity. There were poor entries (I'm looking at you, David Legwand) that made it too easy for the Devils to control and clear the puck. The Predators had ample opportunities to get back into the game with the man advantage and squandered those chances.

  • Hutton gave up a soft goal on the first goal of the game, but was hung out to dry on most of the Devils goals. He made some point blank stops to keep the score from being worse than it was.

  • The defensive breakdowns are troubling, mostly because they are happening consistently. The defense is going to have to get focused and tougher to help Hutton. The consistency of these defensive lapses is costing the team and has to be corrected quickly.

  • The most disappointing aspect of these past two games is the lack of compete by this team. When they got down, they rolled over. There was no push back, no snarl, no fight. That has to change quickly.
What started well for this team is quickly coming unraveled. These last two games have exposed the weaknesses and the softness of this team. It has to turn around quickly.

My three stars:

1. Jaromir Jagr

2. Marek Zidlicky

3. Cam Janssen

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