Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Predators Continue to Struggle, Drop 2-1 OT Decision to the Flames.

The Nashville Predators have not won an overtime game this season.

The Calgary Flames have won 7 OT contests.

That trend continued at Bridgestone Arena as the Nashville Predators dropped a 2-1 overtime decision to the Flames.

The Predators continue to struggle, creating lots of shots but few quality scoring chances. The Predators only goal came a first period penalty shot as Cody Hodgson beat Kari ramo with a nice snap shot to the glove side.

The lead held up until midway of the second period as the Predators defense broke down and allowed T. J. Brodie to skate uncontested down the slot where he beat Pekka Rinne over the shoulder to tie the game at 1.

The game remained scoreless, but not for lack of effort by the Flames. Rinne made several great saves to keep the Flames off the board.

The Predators never really challenged Ramo with good scoring chances and the game was headed to OT.

In the extra session, the Predators turned the puck over and Johnny Gaudreau fed the puck to Kris Russell on a 2 on 1 and Russell buried the shot top shelf for the game winner.

Some observations:

  • There are a lot of problems with this Predators squad right now. One of them is the lack of a strong presence in front of the net. While the Preds are getting shots, there is rarely good traffic in front of the net . Ramo was spitting out rebounds all night long, but rarely were the Predators in a position to retrieve the puck and put follow up shots on the net. Unless that changes, this team will continue to look good on the stat sheet and bad on the scoreboard.
  • Calle Jarnkrok continues to grow in his role as the number one center. He is defensively responsible, has a deft touch with the puck, and is fast becoming the Predators best face off man. He was 10 of 15 in the circle tonight. Jarnkrok is not a true number one, but he is a solid number 2 center and has shown that he is a responsible and solid forward.
  • The Predators struggling penalty kill showed up tonight. Granted, the Flames power play has been abyssmal, ranking 30th in the NHL (the Preds PK is 28th), but the Predators killed off a full two minutes of 5 on 3 after Mike Ribeiro took a penalty and James Neal took a stupid penalty for a shot to the head on the continuation of Ribeiro's penalty. The only shot the Flames got during the two man advantage was a spectacular stop by Rinne on the goal line with his pad. Hopefully this effort tonight gives this unit a bit of confidence and gets them on an upswing.
  • It is obvious that the Predators forwards are struggling and frankly have lost their mojo right now. The shots are coming, but they are not dangerous. Rebounds are controlled by the defense (see point above) and there is little follow up or traffic to disrupt the opposing netminder. Until that changes, this team is going  to have a hard time scoring goals.
There is noit much to say about this game, or the games over the last 6 weeks. The Predators have shown themselves to at best be a middle of the pack team in the West and they will continue to occupy that position until they have some changes up front.

And in the brutally competitive Central Division, middle of the pack may mean being on the outside looking in when the playoffs roll around.

My three stars:

1. Kris Russell

2. Cosy Hodgson

3. T.J. Brodie

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