Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Same Song, Different Verse; Predators Shut Out Again

The Nashville Predators continued their four game road trip with a stop in Vancouver to face off against the Canucks in a battle of two teams that were struggling to find their game.

The Predators were coming off a listless performance the night before against Edmonton and were looking to get their game back to the hard edged basics that is integral to their success.

A scoreless first period saw both teams get some quality scoring chances but both Carter Hutton for the Predators and Eddie Lack for the Canucks make some good stops. More importantly for the Predators, though, was that they showed some good jump and effort, characteristics that had been lacking in their previous outing.

The second period was a mirror image of the first period with both teams skating hard but unable to find the net. The Canucks had the better of the scoring chances, but like the Predators, could not finish their chances.

The Canucks finally broke the scoreless tie at 6:06 of the third period as the Predators failed to clear the puck out of the zone. The Canucks were able to move the puck to an open Nicklas  Jensen who beat Hutton top shelf with a hard slap shot.

The Canucks struck on the power play at 7:19 as Alex Edler blew a shot from the blue line past Hutton. The Predators needed to respond after the Canucks first goal and this was obviously not the response the Predators needed. Hutton was not screened and was just flat out beaten by the shot.

This Predators team has monumental difficulty overcoming a one goal deficit, and a Canucks 2 goal lead in the late stages of the third period was insurmountable.

Once again, the Predators hustled and competed as best they could, but as so often has happened this season, the lack of offensive talent meant they were not going to score and get back into this game, falling by a 2-0 margin.

Some observations:

  • The Predators lost the services of Paul Gaustad in the first period after a hard fall to the ice with Alex Edler then falling on top of him. According to head Coach Barry Trotz at the first intermission, the injury did not appear to be too serious.

  • Really liked the jump of the team. Their compete level was much better in tonight's game. Gabriel Bourque in particular stood out for his effort and hard skating.

  • Viktor Stalberg was back in the line up after being scratched in last night's game.

  • The Predators power play, which had been near the top of the League in effectiveness, has become impotent. The Predators power play is now 5 for 35 in their last 10 games. Tonight, the Predators had 4 power plays and did not get a shot on 2 of them in 4 opportunities.

  • The Predators were shut out for the 9th time this season, the most in the NHL. Sigh...

  • Paging Colin Wilson. Mr. Colin Wilson. Sure would be nice to see you break that 30 game goalless drought.
With the season now reduced to playing out the string, it is time to see some serious changes. First would be to see some of the young talent up from Milwaukee to see what they can do.

They certainly could do no worse than what is happening now.

My three stars:

1. Eddie Lack

2. Henrik Sedin

3. Alex Edler

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