Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Skid Continues: Predators Fall to the Islanders 4-3

The Nashville Predators dropped their 5th game in a row, falling to the New York Islanders 4-3 at Bridgestone Arena.

Once again, the Predators dug a hole that they had to climb out by allowing the Islanders to jump to a 2-0 lead.

John Tavares scored at even strength and Anders Lee scored on the power play to stake the Isles to that 2-0 lead.

Colin Wilson scored off a rebound and scramble around the crease with just 1.2 seconds remaining on the clock in the first period to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Islanders extended their lead to 3-1 in the third period as Nick Leddy beat Pekka Rinne under his arm. This was definitely a stoppable goal that Rinne just didn't play well.

The Predators came storming back to tie the game as a shot from Ryan Ellis that was going over the crossbar hit Mike Ribeiro in the arm and deflected down and past Jaroslav Halak.

31 seconds after that goal, Craig Smith took a sweet pass through the slot from Filip Forsberg and roofed it from in close to tie the game.

Brock nelson got the game winner when a puck bounced over the stick of Seth Jones in the slot and he buried a shot past Rinne.

Some observations:

  • As good as Pekka Rinne has been this season, he was not sharp tonight. The goal by Leddy was very stoppable. The first goal from Tavares should have never happened. Tavares threw the puck at the crease from a sharp angle and it hit Rinne in the leg and slid through the five hole. Look, Rinne has carried this team this year and has been stellar, but right now he is not cleaning up every mistake. In this skid, there have been some bad defensive breakdowns in front of him. Tonight, he just didn't have his best game. I still believe in him and think he will be fine, but he- and this team- are going to have to fight through this funk.
  • For the 10th straight game, the Predators have given up the first goal. Look guys, this is getting old. No, it is old. In the past five games that we have lost, we have held a lead just once (3-2 going into the third period against Detroit). The task at hand gets a lot easier if you are playing with a lead instead of trying to claw your way back into a game.
  • Colin Wilson's goal was his 20th of the year. This is the first time in his career that Wilson has recorded 20 goals.
  • Filip Forsberg picked up an assist and is tied for the team lead in points with 53 (tied with Ribeiro).
  • During this skid, their has been some miserable periods of hockey played by this team. I cannot fault the effort tonight. The out shot the Islanders 31-26 and played with some good jump for most of the game. That said, the Islanders third goal was a direct result of the Isles outworking the Predators in their zone and keeping them hemmed in for a long stretch.
  • Jaroslav Halak played a good game and made some great stops. The Predators consistently put pressure and shots on the net, and if they continue to do that, they will reverse this skid.
  • Mike Fisher has been playing some inspired hockey and picked up an assist tonight. Fisher has 7 points (3G-4A) in his last nine games.
This is not a fun time for the team or its fans. Let's just let go that "best team in the NHL" line and realize that every team goes through these stretches. The critical aspect is how this team is going to respond to this adversity. The objective now should be to play sound, fundamental hockey and to play with heart and effort.

If they play like they did tonight with that kind of effort, they will get back to their winning ways.

My three stars:

1. Jaroslav Halak

2. Nick Leddy

3. Craig Smith

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