Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Struggle Continues; Predators Fall to the Blackhawks 3-2

The Nashville Predators need a win in a big way.

The Chicago Blackhawks stood in the way of the Predators and that win, and the visiting Predators faced a tough task in getting a win at the United Center against a Blackhawks team that has won 7 in a row.

The Predators have lost 3 straight games.

Desperately needing the win, the Predators gave up the first 3 goals before dropping another game by a 3-2 score.

Andrew Shaw scored twice from the top of the crease and Brent Seabrook blasted a shot past Pekka Rinne from the blue line to give the Hawks a 3-0 lead. Mike Ribeiro scored for the Predators late in the second period to cut it to 3-1.

Filip Forsberg scored on a deflection that he batted out of the air with 36.3 seconds to go in the game and the Predators with the man advantage. That goal cut the Hawks lead to 3-2.

The Predators had difficulty getting control of the puck before one last scoring chance from Ryan Johansen that was turned aside by Corey Crawford.

Some observations:

  • Colin Wilson missed his second straight game with a lower body injury.
  • Anthony Bitetto was back in the line up and paired with Barret Jackman.
  • Did you notice how the Blackhawks scored their first 2 goals? Andrew Shaw was creating havoc at the top of the crease and was the beneficiary of going to the hard area of the ice. This is an aspect of the Predators game that has been noticeably absent for too long.
  • This is a Predators team that trying to find its identity right now. They are not overly physical; they are talented but not so that they can dominate an opponent; and they have difficulty  elevating their work ethic or overall game when they need to do so. Until this team discovers and embraces an identity, they are going to continue to be an average squad.
  • I like the play of RyJo- Ryan Johansen. He is adept at winning face offs, is not afraid to go to the front of the net, and has shown that he has a wicked good shot. 
  • James Neal came to play tonight. He was willing to shoot and play a physical game. he was one of the few bright spots for the Predators in a tough game.
  • I can't fault Rinne for the first 2 goals, but man, that third goal was a back breaker that Rinne has to stop.
The Predators are a team on the skids right now.  And the only way out of it is to start to play fundamental hockey and bring a maximum effort for a full 60 minutes.

Until they do that, this is a team that will continue to flounder.

My three stars:

1. Andrew Shaw

2. Corey Crawford

3. Mike Ribeiro

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