Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Predators Stopped By the Stars in a Shootout

The Nashville Predators are in desperation mode. Not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, the Predators have to win out and get some help from teams in front of them.

Their first step in the process was to capture a win at the American Airlines Center against the Dallas Stars.

The Predators did not start well, looking sluggish to open the game and giving up a goal to Alex Goligoski at 2:23 of the first period. A defensive breakdown allowed Goligoski an open shot, and he took advantage of the miscue to blow a shot past Pekka Rinne.

Gabriel Bourque tied the game with a blast from the slot at 1:22 of the second period as he blasted a shot from the slot past Kari Lehtonen.

The Stars took a 2-1 lead at 8:18 of the second period as another defensive breakdown led to a Stars 2 on 1 break, and Jamie Benn capitalized.

Bourque tallied his second of the game at 10:24 of the third period as Paul Gaustad won a puck battle in the corner and snapped a pass to Bourque in the slot. Once again, Bourque stepped in a shot a beat Lehtonen to tie the game.

The Predators had to kill 1:38 of a two man advantage with Shea Weber and Victor Bartley in the box and did a great job on the penalty kill.

The remainder of regulation and overtime were scoreless, and so the Predators faced another shootout. In 10 shootouts this season, the Predators were 2-8.

And once again, the shootout was the nemesis for the Predators, as they lost in four rounds by a 2-1 margin. Roman Josi scored for the Predators, while Vernon fiddler and Tyler Seguin scored for the Stars.

Some observations:

  • After a blowout in their last meeting, the Predators played a much better game against the talented Stars. However, they took nearly 9 minutes to register their first shot on goal in the contest. The Predators have to have better starts in they are going to win against talented teams.

  • Gabriel Bourque has skated with good jump lately. he has always played hard, but has seemed to have an extra gear in recent games. While this hasn't been the season Bourque or Predator fans have wanted, his late resurgence hopefully bodes well for the upcoming season. This was Bourque's first two goal game in is career.

  • The Predators penalty kill while the Stars had a two man advantage was all heart. Rinne and the defense in front of him refused to fold in the face of the Stars attack.

  • The Predators out shot the Stars in regulation 26-23. Lehtonen and Rinne both made some good saves during the course of the game. I liked the way the Predators attacked the net after their slow start. Lehtonen kept the Stars in the game with his strong play.

  • The line of Calle Jarnkrok, Craig Smith, and Gabriel Bourque was broken up in the third period with Paul Gaustad moving into Jarnkrok's center position. Jarnkrok had 11:39 of ice time tonight and with the exception of Rich Clune (8:26) had the lowest amount of ice time among the Predators forwards.
Tough loss for the Predators, one that will eliminate them from the playoff race.

The compete level was there, but they couldn't capture the win. Now we will see how this team competes in the last three games of the season.

My three stars:

1. Gabriel Bourque

2.Jamie Benn

3. Alex Goligoski

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