Friday, November 20, 2015

Predators Start Road Trip By Falling Flat, Lose to the Blue Jackets 4-0

The Nashville Predators begin a grueling 6 games in 9 nights stretch with a stop in Columbus to face former Division rival Blue Jackets.

The Jackets struggled to open the season but have regained some semblance of respectability under new Head Coach John Tortorella.

Pekka Rinne was in net for the Predators, while Sergei Bobrovsky was between the pipes for the Jackets.

Maybe the Predators thought they could just show up and chalk this one up as a win. Nothing could be further from reality.

The game opened in the worst possible way for the Predators, as the Jackets scored on their first two shots of the game. Gregory Campbell got lost by the defense and was alone in the slot and took a perfect pass from behind the net from Kirby Rychel. Campbell snapped a shot over the glove of Rinne for a 1-0 lead.

Ryan Johanson took advantage of a Predators turnover, setting up a 3 on 2 and Johanson was able to get the puck in the net just before Brandon Saad knocked the net off the moorings.

The Predators mounted some offense in the remainder of the first period but could not solve Bobrovsky.

The second period saw the Predators give up a 2 on 1 that the Jackets capitalized upon on just their second shot of the period. Boone Jenner took the shot and got his own rebound and batted it past Rinne to give the Jackets a 3-0 lead.

Scott Hartnell added an empty net goal as the Predators failed miserably to show up for this game and dropped an embarrassing 4-0 decision.

Some observations:

  • The Jackets played last night and lost the game to Ottawa. yet the Jackets opened the game with a lot more jump than the Predators. By the time the Predators got into the game, they were looking at a 2-0 deficit. The Predators have done a good job of starting fast this season, but they did not tonight and were in a hole before they had even worked up a sweat. This is the kind of start that this team can ill afford to have.
  • The Predators were guilty not only of a lot of turnovers, but uncharacteristically lost the majority of puck battles. This team is good, but they are not good enough to play without their characteristic intensity.
  •  Interesting change on the power play as Gabriel Bourque was inserted for Colin Wilson on one unit to provide the big body in front of the net.
  • The Jackets lost two defensemen to injury in the first period- Fedor Tyutin and Cody Goloubef. It was reported that Goloubef was taken to the hospital after taking a puck to the face  off a shot. The Jackets reported that he had a broken jaw as a a result of the shot.
  • The Predators were guilty of several turnovers that wound up in the back of their net. The Jackets second and third goals both came off turnovers that created odd man rushes at the net. Being sloppy with the puck cost the Predators and while Rinne is usually spectacular, he was outmanned and swarmed by the Jackets on those goals. 
  • The Predators threw a ton of shots at the net-    to be exact, but rarely was Bobrovsky called upon to make a quality save. The Predators, as Coach Kevin  McCarthy said at the first intermission, were trying to be too cute. The Predators have a skilled team but their bread and butter is getting shots to the net with traffic. Tonight, there was not a lot of traffic and Bobrovsky had a lot of clean looks at shots coming his way.
  • Unbelievably, the Predators are now 5-4-2 when they out shoot their opponent, while they are 6-0-1 when they are out shot.
  • Paging Filip Forsberg... Forsberg now has gone 10 games without a goal
  • Paging Colin Wilson... Wilson has now gone forever without scoring a goal. Both Wilson and Forsberg have been non factors in recent games, and the Predators have to have positive contributions from these two players.
  • Bobrovsky was good in this game,  no doubt, but what is puzzling is that the Predators couldn't put any more pressure on the Blue Jackets D when they were down to just 4 for the game. The forwards did not do a good job of getting the puck behind the Jackets D and punishing them with the forecheck.
  • Give credit to the Jackets skaters. They blocked 26 shots by the Predators. This is a hallmark of a Tortorella coached team, but the Predators have to get the puck through and create chances. 
This was an awful way to start the road trip, and it will not get any easier tomorrow night in Minnesota.

It is going to take a much better effort from the Predators to win that game.

Hopefully we got this stinker out of our system.

My three stars:

1. Sergei Bobrovsky

2. Ryan Johansen

3. Boone Jenner

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