Saturday, April 2, 2016

Predators Blow 2 Goal Third Period Lead, Fall In SO to the Sharks

The Nashville Predators went into the second intermission of their game with the San Jose Sharks at Bridgestone Arena with a 2-0 lead. They built that lead by attacking the Sharks and keeping them off balance, forechecking aggressively and not letting the Sharks get into any offensive flow.

All they needed to do to end a 3 game losing streak was to continue to do those same things over the last 20 minutes.

Easy, right?

Well, nothing is easy with the Predators.

They decided to sit back and go into a shell over the last 20 minutes, and it allowed Tomas Hertl to score twice forcing the game to OT.

Predator fans know all too well that OT is a disaster for this team.

The good news...the Predators didn't lose in OT.

The bad news...the Predators lost in a shootout 1-0 to drop a 3-2 decision that they never, NEVER, should have lost.

Shea Weber opened the scoring for the Predators with a rocket from the blue line over the shoulder of James Reimer to give the Predators a 1-0 lead.

The Predators looked to have made it 2-0 on the power play as the period was winding down, but the goal was deemed to have occurred just a split second after the period expired.

The Predators would make it 2-0 in the second period as Calle Jarnkrok redirected a James Neal shot past Reimer to send the Predators into the second intermission with a lead that should have stood.

Instead, the Predators sat back and let the Sharks dictate play. Hertl made it 2-1 when he banged in a rebound past Carter Hutton.

Hertl struck again when he was able to beat Hutton off a rebound of a Brent Burns shot.

The teams went to OT, and the Predators managed to kill off a penalty and hold the Sharks off the board.

In the shootout, Logan Couture was the only scorer to seal the win for the Sharks.

Some observations:

  • The Predators are certainly not inspiring a sense of confidence heading into the playoffs. Yes, they are in the playoffs, but this team should be sharpening their game. Instead, they are just muddling along, and I am afraid they are not going to be able to flip a switch and turn their game back on when the post season gets here. Sloppy play, defensive breakdowns, and a lack of mental focus are troubling. Hopefully, this team gets its act together in the last 3 games.
  • Stefan Elliott saw action in his second game due to the absence of Ryan Ellis. Elliott looked much better in this game- more confident and positionally sound. Good experience for Elliott.
  • Roman Josi picked up an assist on Weber's goal, his 45th of the year.
  • The Predators continued their awful play in the face off dot, winning only 29% of their draws. This is an area of the Predators game that has to improve quickly.
This team has shown flashes of being outstanding, yet they have also shown glimpses of mediocrity. Until they decide to get consistent and elevate their game, I will not be confident in their prospects in the playoffs.

There are 3 regular season games left, boys.

Time to get your act together.

My three stars:

1. Tomas Hertl

2. Logan Couture

3. Carter Hutton

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