Phoenix 4, Nashville 0: You Said “No Shootouts,” Not “No Shutouts”

Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz has a job ahead

This picture might just be the perfect summary of this game on its own. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

The Nashville Predators have only lost games two ways this season: in shootouts and in shutouts. Fans were begging for the team not to lose in a shootout prior to tonight’s game, and the Preds complied. They made the Coyotes, owners of the league’s worst defense, look like the they were the ones with Pekka Rinne and Shea Weber on the ice in a 4-0 loss.

The loss itself isn’t terribly surprising given the injury to Patric Hornqvist and how Nashville has been underachieving so far this season even with his efforts in the nightly lineup. But the way they played tonight, they looked like they didn’t belong on the ice with a team that had gone 1-4-0 up to this point.  How bad were things tonight? Put it this way: when the fourth line with Matt Halischuk, Craig Smith, and Rich Clune looks better than the rest of the team, you’re in trouble.

Rather than a detailed breakdown, just have a watch at the highlights lowlights below:

Observations:

  • I really had hoped that the Preds would start Chris Mason tonight. Pekka Rinne was coming off one day of rest, Mason was fresh, and the team has two days after this game before playing the Kings in Los Angeles. Even if the team had lost with Mason in net, a fresh Rinne would’ve been something to look forward to. Otherwise Mason would’ve grabbed his second win of the season and a fresh Pekka. So much for that opportunity.
  • Nashville couldn't beat Phoenix goalie Chad Johnson

    The Preds didn’t test Chad Johnson often, but he came up strong when they did. (PHOTO: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports)

    Nashville was outshot once again, but at 25-21 it was closer than some of the games. Only problem? Very few of them were good shots, and most of them came when it didn’t matter. Nashville was outshot 5-3 in the first period and 9-7 in the second, finally tying the shots at 11 in the third after things were completely out of hand. They didn’t make career AHL goalie Chad “Not Ochocinco” Johnson work much at all, and as a result he got his first NHL shutout.

  • The lack of offensive firepower seems to have some of the more talented d-men who are used to being winners a little frustrated on the ice. At different points tonight both Ryan Ellis and Shea Weber tried to step up and make something happen by puckhandling into the zone themselves instead of passing off to forwards or chipping the puck in. Not such a bad idea for Ellis, as long as he evades any big checks. With Weber it’s the kind of thing where he’d be leaving that job to somebody else if somebody else were actually doing it.
  • Sergei Kostitsyn had zero shots on goal tonight. That gives him a total of three shots on goal for the season. In six games he’s averaged upwards of 16 minutes ice time. That kind of “production” wouldn’t be acceptable from a minor-league second-liner. I’ll spare you the KHL All-Star jokes, but Sergei needs to become a contributor to this team and fast.
  • Were there any bright spots at all? Perhaps a few. Colin Wilson showed potential again on the top line with Mike Fisher and Martin Erat, but had no production to show for it. Craig Smith looked vastly improved playing center on the fourth line. And assistant coach Lane Lambert’s hair is still excellent. Outside of that…not a lot to write home about.

Topics: Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes

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