Thursday, March 3, 2016

Predators Blow Leads and the Game, Fall to the Devils In OT

The Nashville Predators are absolutely horrible in overtime.

They continued that trend, falling to 1-11 in the extra period, and dropping a decision to the New Jersey Devils 5-4 in a game that saw the Predators blow 4 leads.

Power play goals were the order of business in the first period and in the game. Craig Smith put the Predators on the board first with his 16th goal of the season and the Predators on the power play. Kyle Palmieri answered on the power play for the Devils to send the game into the first intermission tied at 1.

Nashville took a 2-1 lead on a Mike Ribeiro power play goal off a deflection of a Roman Josi shot with the Predators on the power play.

Paul Gaustad made it 3-1 Predators off a nice assist from Austin Watson.

Looking like they were in control and cruising, the Predators gave uop a soft goal when Pekka Rinne stopped a Jon Merrill shot but couldn't find the puck. Devante Smith-Pelley got his stick on the puck that was lying in the blue paint and it trickled over the goal line to make it 3-2 at the end of the second period.

Travis Zajac tied the game at 3 in the third period with the Devils again on the power play.

Filip Forsberg gave the Predators a 4-3 lead with 1:29 to go in the game when he beat Keith Kincade for his 27th goal of the year.

With Kincade pulled, Adam Henrique gathered in a rebound and beat Rinne to tie the game at 4 with 39 seconds left.

Heading to overtime, the Predators once again looked lost and confused, and their woes were compounded with a delay of game call on Rinne.

That lead to henrique's second goal of the game with the Devils on a 4 on 3 power play. Henrique banged a rebound past Rinne for the game winner.

Some observations:

  • Look up inept in the dictionary and you will find a picture of the Predators playing OT hockey. They look lackadaisical, confused, and have absolutely no sense of urgency. I really don't like the second unit that Head Coach Peter Laviolette sent out on the ice. Mattias Ekholm, Ryan Ellis, and Filip Forsberg. No offense whatsoever in the OT for the Predators as they failed to register even 1 shot on goal. The Devils had 6. The Predators are now 1-11 in OT. Think how much better positioned this team would be in the playoff race if they had captured even half of the points they have left on the table. The play of this team in OT is unacceptable.
  • The PK struggled tonight. No, they were woeful. They Failed to kill any of the Devils man advantage opportunities. Rinne made some saves, but when the puck was kicked out to the off side, there was no coverage, allowing the Devils easy scoring opportunities. This unit looked really off tonight.
  • Rinne was not bad tonight, but he was not his usual spectacular self. The Smith-Pelley goal was terribly soft. He got little help on the power play goals that he gave up.
  • Craig Smith has started to heat up. His power play goal was a perfectly placed shot under the crossbar while driving the net. Good to see Smith starting to find the net consistently.
  • Not sure why the team even has Mike Ribeiro taking face offs. he was a dreadful 25% in the dot tonight.
  • Ribeiro did do a good job of going to the front of the net and had a nice deflection of Josi's shot for a power play goal.
  • The Predators power play cashed in on both their chances.
  • Filip Forsberg established a new career high with his 27th goal.
  • With his assist on Smith's goal, Shea Weber now has the all time team lead in power play points (183) by a defenseman, passing Kimmo Timmonen (182).
  • The Predators set a new franchise record with points in 11 straight games.
  • Big props to Mike Fisher, who skated in his 1,000th career NHL game tonight. A good player and an even better person. Congratulations, Mike.
This was a game for the taking by the Predators. Instead, their mistakes and their sloppy play cost them a point.

This is the kind of game that the Predators have to put behind them and get back on the horse and start winning games.

The test will be if they can put this putrid play behind them against Colorado on Saturday.

My three stars:

1. Adam Henrique

2. Filip Forsberg

3. Keith Kincade

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