Your Nashville Predators spent Thanksgiving night dueling with the Edmonton Oilers at Bridgestone. The turkey lunch at the team meal might not have been the best idea for the Preds.
If the Preds didn’t actually have a turkey lunch, it certainly looked like it with how they started the first period. The Preds came out sluggish and got away from the things that made them successful over the last two weeks. While the Preds outshot the Oilers in the first, they did not create any good scoring chances and rarely attacked the net to battle for rebounds. It was a slow period for both teams and the Oilers did not generate a lot of chances in the first period either. Nashville also failed to convert on two power play chances, one of which was spoiled by a Seth Jones penalty after 19 seconds on the man advantage.
The second period was much of the same for the Preds. They continued to be lackadaisical on the forecheck and did not generate any quality chances around the net. The defensive coverage was not as steady in the second period either. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 5:32 into the second on a redirected pass from the point. Hugent-Hopkins’ goal was an example of poor defensive-zone coverage as he found himself in front of the net unchecked for an easy deflection. Taylor Hall scored less than a minute later on a 2 on 1. Ryan Ellis had a shot to cover Hall but he did not identify him in the neutral zone and slowed up, which allowed Hall to join the rush and ultimately score. These are the types of defensive lapses the Preds eliminated over the last couple of weeks. Let’s hope tonight was an anomaly and the Preds will get back to what was making them successful.
Even with the poor effort, the biggest concern about the second period was the apparent face injury to Shea Weber. He took a puck to the face and headed straight to the locker room where he remained for the rest of the game. Hopefully, it is just a bruise and maybe cut around his eye area and not any damage to the eye. If Weber is out for any length of time it would be catastrophic.
The third period was much the same for the Preds. They allowed the young Oiler’s offense to dictate the tempo and never really got any quality chances. Edmonton added an empty netter to make the final score 3-0. It was the 2nd time in four games that the Preds were shtout and the 6th time this season (most in the NHL).
Notwithstanding the result, Marek Mazanec was solid in net again, stopping 25 of 27 shots faced. This was Mazanec’s ninth consecutive start and only his second set of back-to-back nights. Not that he was bad, but it could have been a good night for him to have off and Carter Hutton to get a little work in. Unfortunately, Mazanec was outdueled by the Oilers new goalie Ilya Bryzgalov. Bryzgalov stopped all 33 shots in his first start with the Oilers.
- Nashville continued its success on the penalty kill and has not allowed a power play goal against in seven games.
- In his last seven games, Mazanec has not allowed more than 2 goals and his save percentage has not been lower than .923.
- Matt Cullen, Roman Josi, Mike Fisher and Weber combined for 18 of the Preds 33 shots.
The Preds are at home again on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. Be sure to check in with us for a preview of the game and other Preds’ news. Thanks for reading.
Scott Gardner is the Editor at Predlines.com and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @scottcgardner. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH or like us on Facebook.