Monday, March 28, 2016

Predators Stumble Out of the Gate in Loss to the Avalanche

With a chance to clinch a playoff spot on home ice against a struggling Colorado avalanche team, the Nashville Predators came out and crapped the bed.

Spotting the Avs a 3 goal lead off sloppy plays, egregious turnovers, and a lackadaisical effort for much of the game, the Predators tried to rally late but fell 4-3.

The Avs jumped out to a quick 3 goal lead in the first period. Mattias Ekholm set up the Avs first goal with a brutally bad turnover, throwing a blind backhand pass right into the slot and onto the tape of Blake Comeau, who had an easy shot past a surprised Pekka Rinne.

Gabriel landeskog made it 2-0 when he out muscled Shea Weber at the front of the net and poked the puck through Rinne's pads.

Jack Skille  made it 3-0 when he skated alone into the slot and banged home a rebound of a Cody MacLeod shot. The poor effort of the team resulted in Rinne being pulled for Carter Hutton.

The Predators showed some life when Craig Smith placed a perfect shot over the shoulder of Semyon Varlamov to make it 3-1 at the end of the first period.

After a scoreless second period, the Avs made it 4-1 off another Predator turnover. Shawn Matthias was the beneficiary and he floated a puck over the shoulder of Hutton with no Predator defender to challenge the effort.

The Predators tried to make it a game late in the third period when Colton Sissons deflected in a Miikka Salomaki shot to make it 4-2.

Roman Josi made it 4-3 with a laser over the shoulder of Varlamov, but that would be it for the Predators as they wasted a chance to capture a critical win.

Some observations:

  • The Avalanche are a desperate team, and everyone knew they would come out with energy and urgency. The Predators were not ready for that effort and they were swamped early in the game. it didn't help that they played some stupid hockey. The Preds better get ready, because this was a taste of playoff hockey, and this game found them lacking in effort.
  • Roman Josi recorded his 13th goal of the season, which gives him 57 points on the year. That is a new franchise record for points by a defenseman.
  • The Predators are now 4-19-5 when they trail after 2 periods.
  • Craig Smith hit the 20 goal mark with his first period goal. That is the third consecutive season that he has tallied at least 20 goals.
  • It sure would be nice to see some production from Colin Wilson, wouldn't it? His offside play negated a goal by Salomaki and he just looks like he couldn't find the back of the net if his life depended on it.
This game was about as bad of a start that this team has had in a long while. They cannot dig the kind of hole that they did in the first period and expect a good outcome. Even worse, their level of play was awful. Stupid passes and poor puck management wound up costing them dearly.

Hopefully they get it out of their system.

If not, they will get trucked tomorrow night in Dallas.

My three stars:

1. Gabriel Landeskog

2. Craig Smith

3. Blake Comeau

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