Saturday, December 26, 2015

Predators Fall to the Wings 3-2

Coulda, woulda, shoulda...

This is the story of the Predators season lately.

Apparently the Predators margin to win games is so razor thin that any little mistake will cost them.

This is the case as once again the Predators made just enough mistakes to cost them in a 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena.

Filip Forsberg and Craig Smith tallied for the Predators. Each goal tied the game for the Predators. Forsberg's goal followed a goal by Brendan Smith 45 seconds earlier in the first period.

Riley Sheahan scored on the power play early in the second period. It took Forsberg about 15 minutes to get the equalizer to send the teams into the second intermission tied at 2.

Luke Glendening scored at 6:45 of the the third period and the Predators had no answer this time as the Wings captured the season series.

Some observations:

  • The lack of an elite center for the Predators is glaring. The wingers do a good job of creating, but the Predators lack a center that can dominate the center of the ice and distribute the puck. Until this weakness is corrected, the Predators will continue to be an average team.
  • The Predators rarely pressured Petr Mrazek. When they did, they scored. The truth of the matter is that the Predators have forwards that rarely contribute. I know that it is easy to single out Colin Wilson (and he has had a miserable season), but the third line rarely threatens the net and the 4th line is just not going to get on the score sheet. Until these guys start producing, the Predators will continue to struggle.
  • Forsberg brought his A game tonight. His line always draws the top defenders from the opponent, but Forsberg has shown creativity and drive, something that many of the other Predators forwards lack. They could take a lesson from the way Forsberg plays the game. This was Forsberg's second 2 goal game of the season.
  • Roman Josi continues to impress. He is fearless in carrying the puck and can break the pressure from any opponent. On many nights, he is the Predators best forward (yes, I know he plays defense, but he carries the puck better than anyone wearing a gold sweater) and can create in the offensive zone.
  • Mike Ribeiro picked up 2 assists tonight.
  • Pekka Rinne had to make some good saves, and when he was beaten, the puck was coming through traffic. Rinne battles every night and gives the Predators a chance to win. The opponents know that to beat Rinne they have to get traffic to the net and that is exactly what they have been doing to have success against the big Finn.
  • The Predators power play tonight was fancy but ineffective tonight. Lots of passing, no traffic to the net, and few shots. The power play was 0-3 tonight.
  • The Predators PK killed 2 of 3 Wings man advantage opportunities. The lone Wings score occurred when the Predators allowed Sheahan to get to the front of the net with no challenge from the defense.
This is a Predators team that is going to continue to take one step forward, one step back until production starts to come from more than a handful of players. Early in the season, the scoring was much more balanced. Now it is not.

And the Predators are going to continue to struggle until this changes.

My three stars:

1. Filip Forsberg

2. Mike Ribeiro

3. Brendan Smith

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