Saturday, February 20, 2016

Predators Continue Their Futility In OT, Fall to the Kings 2-1

The Nashville Predators and the Los Angeles Kings have played 7 consecutive 1 goal games.

Make it 8.

The Kings capitalized on the poor play of the Predators in overtime to take a 2-1 win at Bridgestone Arena.

Jake Muzzin staked the Kings to a 1-0 lead in the first period as his seeing eye shot from the blue line got cleanly through a maze of bodies to find the back of the net behind Pekka Rinne.

Ryan Ellis tied the game with time winding down in the first period and the Predators on the power play. Ellis gathered in a loose puck at the side of the net and chipped the puck past Jonathan Quick to knot the game at 1.

The next 40 minutes saw both teams attack and counter attack to no avail as both Rinne and Quick were solid in net. The Predators best chance to take the lead came early in the third period as Filip Forsberg hit the post from in close.

Even after 60 minutes, the Predators headed to overtime, where they have been abysmal this season.

They continued that trend, as 2 Predators defenders ran into each other, allowing Tanner Pearson a clean shot that beat Rinne just 1:18 into the extra frame for a 2-1 Kings victory.

Some observations:

  • Rinne has elevated his game in his last two starts. He has allowed 1 goal in 120 minutes of regulation, and I can't really fault him for either goal. the first was through a lot of traffic and the OT winner was off a defensive breakdown. If Rinne can continue to play at this level, the Predators will have a good chance to win most nights.
  • The Predators power play has struggled mightily. Yes, I know our goal came off the man advantage, but the power play was 1-6 tonight and rarely threatened Quick. The Predators power play has fallen back into the mode of not moving and creating space and is way too static. This makes it easier for the opponent to defend, and the Kings did a very good job of that tonight. The man advantage unit is going to have to get more urgency and energy if they are going to be successful.
  • The ineptness of the Predators in OT is ludicrous. The team is now 1-10 in OT, and think of the separation this team could have over the trams chasing them in the standings if they were even .500 in OT. It is obvious that this team has not worked on the 3 on 3 format. They look lost and have no offensive threat. Defensively, they are a Keystone Cops unit. This has to improve, but it very well may be that their play in OT will cost them for the post season.
  • This is the second OT loss to the Kings this season having lost 4-3 in L.A. October 31.
There is not much to say about this game. Well, yes there is.

It was a playoff caliber game, and the Predators matched the physicality of the Kings, out skated for the most, and created some chances.

They were also frustrating beyond measure with their poor play on the power play and in OT.

Good teams adjust their game and make positive things happen on the power play and in OT, something the Predators haven't done.

Until that changes, they will continue to be frustrating and will give away points.

My three stars:

1. Tanner Pearson

2. Pekka Rinne

3. Jonathan Quick

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