Saturday, April 23, 2016

Predators Implode Once Again and Find Their Backs to the Wall With 5-2 Loss

After puking up two games on home ice, the Nashville Predators traveled to Anaheim trying to regain their mojo and momentum in Game five of their best of seven series. Both teams have won their games on their opponents ice and the Predators were hoping that trend would continue.

The Predators started well, and after a scoreless first period, took a lead on the first goal of the game off a sweet backhand by Ryan Johansen that beat Frederick Andersen to the far post.

That goal lasted all of 34 seconds as a David Perron shot deflected off Roman Josi's skate and fluttered over the outstretched glove of Pekka Rinne to tie the game at 1.

Ryan Garbutt gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead as he jammed a puck between Rinne and the goal post.

Sami Vatenan gave the Ducks a 3-1 lead as he came out of the penalty box and beat Rinne on a breakaway.

Mikka Salomaki drew the Predators to within one goal as he buried the rebound of a Shea Weber blast.

After a stupid penalty by Mike Ribeiro, the Ducks finally converted on a power play and Cam Fowler finally made the Predators as he scored on the first shot of the power play to make it 4-2.

Ryan Kessler finished the scoring with an empty net goal.

Some observations:

  •  The Predators certainly came out with more jump in the first period and created some quality chances. Now they just have to bury them.
  • Is Shea Weber not just a beast. His forearm shiver that flattened Corey Perry is indicative of the strength in the big D man.
  • Craig Smith is still called "day to day". Hopefully the Honey Badger can get back into the series quickly.
  • The Predators looked like the Ducks, taking penalty after penalty. This is flirting with disaster, as the Ducks have the number one power play in the League. One had to feel that the Predators were going to get bitten by all the penalties.
  • That said, the Predators PK unit had worked their tails off this series and in this game.
  • What a sweet backhand by Ryan Johansen for his first goal of the series. That is a goal scorer's goal.
  • And what a flukey goal by David Perron. A big deflection that bounces off the skate of Roman Josi and leaks over the glove of Rinne.
  • Rinne made some very big saves, but he just cannot give up that goal to Garbutt. That is fundamental goaltending- seal the post, yet Rinne did not get it done and it cost the Predators.
  • Mike Ribeiro has been absolutely awful in this playoff series. His penalty was stupid, and frankly, Ribeiro is just not built for the rugged play of the playoffs. Ice is not as open and he cannot compete with the rugged play that occurs in the playoffs. It doesn't help that he loses his temper at the most inopportune times.
  • You cannot understate the effect of the loss of Craig Smith. His skating ability and speed gave the Ducks fits, and with him out of the line up, the Predators have been much less effective.
  • The Predators mistakes and loss of poise cost them in this game, and it will cost them in this series.
The boys backs are against the wall. keep playing as foolishly as they have, and they will have the dubious honor of dropping 4 straight games after taking the first two.

I guess we will find out what the coaching staff and the players are made of on Monday.

My three stars:

1. David Perron

2. Frederick Andersen

3. Ryan Johansen

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