Thursday, December 5, 2013

Predators Poor Play Continues Against the Hurricanes

At best, the Nashville Predators are an average team. Couple that reality with a stretch of bad hockey, and you have a deadly combination for the Predators playoff chances.

The Predators dropped their 4th straight game- all at home- against the Carolina Hurricanes by a 5-2 margin.

You can read the damage, uh, box score here.

It was not a pretty sight at the Bridgestone Arena.

Some observations:

  • Marek Mazanec has performed admirably, but tonight was not his best effort. He gave up 4 goals on 13 shots, including the first shot of the game, which seemed to take him by surprise. Three of the goals he allowed were questionable, and he gave up a goal after Roman Josi turned the puck over leading to a 3 on 1 rush. This was not a good effort by Mazanec tonight, and those kind of games happen. Unfortunately, the team in front of him is not good enough to overcome a bad outing by our netminders.

  • The Predators lost puck battles all night. this is particularly disappointing as teams have been out hustling and out working the Predators in all zones. This team has to win those battles, and win they do not, the opponent has a decided advantage in puck possession. This has been characteristic of the Predators during the losing streak.

  • Puck support in the offensive zone is atrocious. Often, a Predator forward will control the puck down low and get overwhelmed by the defensive pressure. This results in turnovers and stymies the offensive attack. The consistency and cycle game in the offensive zone for the Predators has been spotty at best, and this is major contributor to this losing streak.

  • The Predators actually had a lead on goals by Mike Fisher and Viktor Stalberg early in the second period. Stalberg's goal was a pure effort goal as he followed his shot, took it behind the net, and beat Justin Peters on a nice backhand. Unfortunately, that was the last of the Predators scoring for the night.

  • Kevin Klein returned to the line up after missing two games and his return was much quicker than expected. He logged 18:46 of ice time tonight.

  • This team is wildly inconsistent. They have struggled to play a solid 60 minute game in quite a while. The Predators do not have the talent to play such inconsistent games- they cannot overcome deficits with elite scoring. Until the team decides that they will play a full 60 minute game, they will continue to struggle to get into the win column.

  • The Predators have been dominated in puck possession time in this losing streak, especially as the game goes on. They have been forced into numerous turnovers in their defensive zone and have allowed teams to cycle and control the puck for long stretches. This is not a formula for success for this team.

  • This team has lost their identity. There is no grit and push back when challenged by opponents. Right now, the identity of this team is to dump the puck out of the defensive zone and try to survive the offensive push by opponents.
The Predators travel to Washington and face a big task in trying to right a rapidly sinking ship.

Fail to get back to Predator hockey and this season will be another miserable season for this team.

My three stars:

1. Jeff Skinner

2. Justin Faulk

3. Viktor Stalberg

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