Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Predators Start Strong, Can't Finish in OT Loss to the Canadiens

The Nashville Predators dominated the first 40 minutes of their game with the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Center.

Unfortunately, it is a 60 minute game, and in this case, an overtime period as well, as the Canadiens defeated the Predators 2-1 in overtime.

Mike Ribeiro redirected a Seth Jones shot from the blue line over the shoulder of Carey Price to give the Predators a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Alex Galchenyuk tied the game on the power play in the third period as he redirected a P.K.Subban shot from the point past Carter Hutton.

Tied at the end of regulation, the game headed to overtime, and in the extra period, a weak tripping call on Craig Smith gave the Habs a power play.

On the 4 on 3 man advantage, P.K. Subban scored on a blast from the face off circle for the game winner.

Some observations:

  • The Predators out shot the Canadiens 14-4 in the first period and looked like the...well, Predators. After a lifeless game against Detroit, one wondered what Predators team would show up tonight. The first period saw the Preds get pucks to the net and aggressively forecheck, disrupting any offensive flow of the home team.
  • The Predators did a great job of blocking shots and passes, frustrating the Canadiens offense. When you have a goalie that has struggled and may be lacking a bit in confidence, playing outstanding defense in front of him and keeping pucks from getting to the net are essential. The Predators blocked 19 shots tonight.
  • Now that those first two positive points have been made, here is the negative. The Predators didn't finish some glorious scoring chances. Part of that was the play of Carey Price. Part of it is just not finishing. The forwards worked hard to create those chances and they have to bury when them have the opportunity.
  • I really liked the play of Gabriel Bourque. He played with lots of jump and was strong in all zones. Maybe playing in his home province brought out another level of play. Bourque and his line mates, Calle Jarnkrok and Matt Cullen, played with speed and created some chances tonight.
  • Carter Hutton made some huge saves tonight. He wasn't tested often in the first 40 minutes, but he had to come up with a big save late in the second period and was challenged in the third  when the Canadiens started their push. Hutton played with confidence and moved well in net. He was screened on the game winning shot and didn't have much of a chance.
  • Carey Price is an excellent goalie. The Predators threw a ton of shots at the net and Price was equal to the challenge. He is similar to Pekka Rinne- big and very athletic and turned away some very good scoring chances by the Predators. 
  • The Predators out shot the Habs 37-27.
  • Shea Weber led the Predators in TOI with 27:34.
  • Seth Jones had a solid game, logging 23:31 in ice time and recording an assist on the Ribeiro goal. Jones started slowly this season but is starting to hit his stride, and that has to continue after the All Star break.
  • This is the first time this season that the Predators have dropped back to back games.
This was a disappointing loss for the Predators, a game that got away after dominating play for two periods.

Now is the time for some rest and come back ready for the push to the playoffs.

My three stars:

1. Carey Price

2. P. K. Subban

3. Seth Jones

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