Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Predators Special Teams Not So Special In 3-1 Loss to the Jets

The Nashville Predators traveled to Winnipeg for their second meeting of the season against the Jets, hoping to have the success they did in their first trip to the MTS Center, a 2-0 shutout.

The Jets did not have the service of Evander Kane in the first contest, but he was on the ice tonight.

Carter Hutton got the start for the Predators, while the Jets went with their starter, Ondrej Pavelec.

Once again, the Predators PK was called upon to kill a penalty. Once again, they didn't. With Matt Cullen in the box for interference, the Jets scored off a deflected point shot by Dustin Byfuglien. Andrew Ladd got the tip of the shot and re-directed it past Hutton to give the Jets the early lead at 2:53 of the first period.

With the Jets on another power play, Mark Scheifele fired a shot from inside the blue line that beat Hutton to make it 2-0 at 5:29 of the first period.

Not exactly the start the Predators wanted or needed.

The Predators generated a couple of good scoring chances but could not convert, and a forgettable first period for the Predators ended with the team on the short end of a 2-0 score.

Much of the second period was lackluster until Filip Forsberg snapped a wrister through the five hole and past Pavelec at 16:17 to make the score 2-1. That goal seemed to energize the Predators and they began to step up their attack in the latter half of the second.

The third period saw the Predators try to generate some scoring chances, and they had a few opportunities, but as was the case for most of this game, the Predators couldn't finish. When they got pucks on goal, Pavalec was solid in net, shutting down the Predators.

With Hutton pulled, Blake wheeler scored in the empty net, and this game was done for the Predators., as they fall to a division rival by a 3-1 score.

Some observations:

  • With all the new faces, you would expect the power play to take some time to gel. But the poor play on the penalty kill is disappointing. The Jets are 28th in the NHL on the power play and one would think the Predators could have some success against the Jets man advantage unit. One would think. Unfortunately, the Preds are 28th on the penalty kill, and that is going to have to improve. Quickly.

  • Forsberg continues to play a complete game and I really like his nose for the net. he has a knack for finding the shooting angles and making good shots. Forsberg leads all rookies in scoring with 12 points (4G-8A) and leads the NHL in +/- with a plus 13.

  • Dadgum- the Predators gave up a 2 on 1 and a 3 on 1 on THEIR power play in the second period.

  • The Predators had two power plays in the first two periods and managed one- count 'em, ONE- shot on net. that is some mighty weak sauce there.

  • Two power plays in the third period and the Predators managed just one shot on net with the man advantage. This is beyond weak sauce. It is awful.
Not much you can say about this game. Well...yes there is.

The Predators special teams will prove to be an Achilles heel for this team if they don't get turned around quickly. Right now, the man advantage unit rarely threatens to score. Tonight, the power play unit had trouble even getting into the zone, much less get shots on net. The PK unit has proven to be average at it's very best.

Both have to improve rapidly for this team to continue to have success.

Two more games on the road trip.

Let's hope we don't have to kill too many penalties.

My three stars:

1. Ondrej Pavalec

2. Mark Scheifele

3. Filip Forsberg

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