Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Predators Blow 2 Leads and 2 points, Fall In Shootout to the Canucks

The Nashville Predators had a prime opportunity to extend their Central Division lead to 5 points by taking care of business against the Vancouver Canucks at the Bridgestone Arena.

The Canucks had played a hard game against the St. Louis Blues the night before, while the Predators had the day off.

The Predators pissed away a point, however, blowing leads twice in the game before losing in a shootout 5-4.

I frankly am pretty disgusted. If you want the box score, you can get it here.

Some observations:

  • This team continues to amaze me at their lack of killer instinct. After a dominant first period that saw the Predators go to the locker room with a 2 goal lead, they were terrible in the second period. The Canucks first goal never should have happened as Pekka Rinne was beaten five hole on an easily stoppable shot. And to give up a shorthanded goal after a brutal Seth Jones turnover at the start of the third is inexcusable. When you have a team, a tired team, down you don't let them back into the game. This is a matter of will over skill, and the Predators lack of intensity and will is disturbing. The playoffs are all about will and grit, and this team seems to be coming up short in that area.
  • That said, it seems that this team isn't comfortable playing with a lead but will battle like hell to get back into a game. I appreciate the compete level when they are behind, but when you have leads, don't get behind. Protect those leads and amp up your intensity level. Instead, the Predators seem to sit back and let Rinne stop shots (think the Ducks game earlier this month). And when Rinne struggles, like he did tonight, this team is in trouble.
  • Rinne was not sharp tonight. Both of the second period goals were goals that Rinne usually eats up. This team leans so heavily on Rinne, and when his game is off, they struggle mightily.
  • The power play continues to baffle me. We score a power play goal from Cody Franson and then the man advantage unit goes cold. This killed the team when they had a 5 minute power play late in the third and one minute into overtime. Five minutes of power play time and we managed 4 shots. This unit continues to worry me and I still feel that this will be a serious problem in the playoffs. One aspect of this unit that puzzles me is the continued inconsistency of getting traffic in front of the opposing goaltender. The Preds tried using Taylor Beck and Gabriel Bourque on the power play to do that but there were long stretches where they weren't on the ice. Bombing shots from the point toward an unscreened netminder is rarely going to get you a goal, but this seems to be the only strategy for this unit.
  • Vancouver played a chippy game and Kevin Bieksa was a classless piece of crap, yapping at an injured Paul Gaustad. Bieksa was given a game misconduct for his classless antics.
  • Mike Fisher had a 3 point night with a goal and two assists. Fisher now has 19 goals on the season. If you had told me that the team would get that kind of production from Fish after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the offseason, I would have seriously doubted you. I am impressed with the effort Fisher brings to the ice every night. Some other players need to follow suit.
  • Seth Jones is...an adventure. He will make an outstanding play and will next shift make a brutal play. His turnover at the Predators blue line while on the power play set up Alex Burrows shorthanded goal. Consistency is definitely an issue for Seth.
  • Shea Weber missed his third game with a lower body injury.
  • Roman Josi continues to impress. His level of play has been solid all season and he has elevated his game of late. Josi had 8 points (4G-4A) in his last 9 games. he had 30:16 of ice time tonight.
  • The Predators were 6-7-2 in March. This trend has to get back on an upswing before the playoffs.
I continue to believe this team has the potential to go far in the playoffs. But if they cannot hold leads and up their intensity level for 60 minutes, the time in the playoffs could be short.

My three stars:

1. Eddie Lack

2. Mike Fisher

3. Alex Burrows

No comments:

Post a Comment