Saturday, January 11, 2014

Predators Scoring and Shootout Struggles Continue in Loss to the Senators

The Nashville Predators were exactly where they did not want to be: in another shootout.

The Predators were 0-4 in the shootout coming in to the game at Bridgestone Arena against the Ottawa Senators. After tonight, they are 0-5.

How we got there is interesting.

Mattias Ekholm attempted a back pass behind his net to Kevin Klein. Rather than slide around the dasher board, the puck hit at an angle and caromed out in the slot to Kyle Turris. Turris calmly deposited the puck past Nashville netminder Marek Mazanec, who was watching Ekholm carry the puck and was as surprised as anyone in the building at the crazy play. Turris scored his goal at 6:23 of the second period.

Mike Fisher tied the game at 16:59 of the second period. Ryan Ellis took a shot that was deflected onto the stick of Fisher, who buried the puck over the shoulder of Anderson.

Both teams traded some scoring chances in the remainder of regulation but could not get the go ahead goal.

In overtime, the Predators dominated, out shooting the Senators 6-0. They had the final 1:34 on the power play but could not get a puck past Anderson. The Senators penalty killers did a good job of clogging the lanes and clearing the puck to keep the Predators from getting the winning goal.

In the shoot out, Anderson stopped Craig Smith and David Legwand, while Mika Zibenejad and Jason Spezza tallied in their attempts.

Some observations:

  • Viktor Stalberg was awarded a penalty shot in the first period, which Anderson stopped easily. The penalty shot was awarded after Stalberg used his speed to blow past Joe Corvo, who was forced to haul down Stalberg.

  • Speaking of Stalberg, he recorded three shots on net and used his speed to create space and set up plays. Again, I am looking for a reasonable explanation as to why he is playing on the fourth line.

  • Eric Nystrom and Colin Greening traded some bombs in a second period scrap. They went skate to skate and neither refused to back down in a spirited tilt.

  • Colin Wilson played 17:40 and David Legwand played 18:59. They each recorded one shot on net and were absolute non-factors. Legwand in particular seemed disinterested and unwilling to battle for position or the puck. to give these players these kind of minutes and have zero production is baffling and detrimental to the team.

  • As mentioned, the Predators are now 0-5 in the shootout. How bad have they been? In 19 shot attempts, they have made 1. Only New Jersey is worse.

  • The Predators out shot the Senators 33-21 and had some good scoring chances. Credit Craig Anderson with making some good saves, but this also points out that the Predators continue to struggle finishing their scoring chances.

  • And this points out once again that the lack of offensive skill is killing this team.
The Predators have now lost 3 of their last 4 games, and the prospects for this team righting the ship are faint.

The best to hope for now is for this team to work to improve their game and get some of the players on the roster to step up their play.

Fail to do that and this ugly season will get uglier.

My three stars:

1. Craig Anderson

2. Jason Spezza

3. Mike Fisher

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