Saturday, January 9, 2016

Predators Have No Fight In Them, Fall to the Coyotes 4-0

The Nashville Predators were looking to find some consistency and some wins. A trip to Gila River Arena to face the Arizona Coyotes stood in their way of accomplishing those goals.

Pekka Rinne got the night off and Carter Hutton got the start, while Louie Domingue, who has been red hot for the Coyotes (5-0-2 in 7 starts), was in the net.

Hutton was tested early as Anthony Duclair was awarded a penalty shot and he stopped the attempt.

After a scoreless first period, the Coyotes struck first in the second period as Antoine Vermette tallied on a power play for a 1-0 lead.

Tobias Rieder scored 55 seconds into the third period on a shot that floated over the shoulder of Carter Hutton to make it 2-0. He added an empty net goal at 17:37, and Anthony Duclair scored with 14 seconds left to humiliate the Predators 4-0.

Some observations:

  • Colin Wilson was scratched with a lower body injury.
  • D pairs were changed. Petter Granberg skated with Mattias Ekholm in his first action since being acquired. Barret Jackman was paired with Ryan Ellis.
  • Cody Hodgson drew back into the line up and was on a line with Viktor Arvidsson and Mike Fisher. 
  • In the absence of Wilson, Filip Forsberg moved up to the Johansen and Neal Line. Calle Jarnkrok was on a wing with Craig Smith and centerd by Mike Ribeiro.
  • The Predators penalty kill has had stretches of being bad and then showing some significant improvement. They are back to being bad again. This unit has never really looked in sync this season, although they have had some good stretches. They are back to looking out of sync again. And this is not good for this struggling team.
  • On the other side, the Predators man advantage has been very inconsistent. There are moments where that u nit looks really good and moments where they have difficulty in getting in the zone. Again, the inconsistency of this unit mirrors the inconsistency of this team. Both have to improve.
  • Maybe it is just me, but it seems that the constant line juggling by Head Coach Peter Laviolette has seriously disrupted the chemistry among the Predator forwards, both in the offensive and defensive zones. 
  • The lack of production from the third line is troubling. Great teams get balanced scoring and there is none on the Predators right now. And the 4th line? It has David Legwand-itis. That is where offense goes to die.
  • This team has completely lost its confidence and mojo. While talented, this is a fragile team that lacks mental toughness and the ability to fight back in the face of adversity. Halfway through the season and the Predators have only 2 wins when trailing after 2 periods. This speaks volumes about the toughness, or lack thereof, on this squad.
There is not much to say about this game, or frankly this team, that hasn't already been said. The season is wasting away and this team shows no ability to stop this miserable slide.

I hope I am proven wrong.

My three stars:

1. Louie Domingue

2. Tobias Rieder

3. Anthony Duclair

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