The Nashville Predators lost to the San Jose Sharks 3-2 in a game where they gave up a 2-0 lead.
Okay, it was a perfect game for a letdown for the Predators. They had clinched a Wild Card spot by backing in when Colorado lost the night before. Carter Hutton was in for Pekka Rinne, a smart move but a move that felt like this game didn’t mean quite as much.
There are still things to play for. The Predators want to finish ahead of Minnesota for the first Wild Card spot so they play the tough teams in the Western Division and open with Los Angeles or the banged-up Anaheim instead of Dallas or St. Louis in the first round. It would be great to get out of the Central Division.
They also need to build up some momentum as they have now lost four in a row and want to head into the playoffs on a winning note. That all being said, they were probably outplayed for most of the game and still had a 2-0 lead that slipped away to a shootout loss.
There are a multitude of things we take away from last nights game so we will share a few here:
You can’t beat technology- And we sure haven’t lately. From the non-reversal on a goal where the camera seemed to show Carter Hutton’s head being bumped by the opposition right before a goal to the Colin Wilson being a few inches offside before a goal, it seems like the technology Gods are against us.
It happened again last night at the end of the first period when it seemed that Ryan Johansen got a goal at the horn. Once again, it was overturned on video review:
Carter Hutton is Pretty Good – Hutton has played well in relief of Pekka Rinne and last night was no exception. The defense with injuries to Ryan Ellis and Anthony Bitetto let San Jose throw more rubber at him that he ever wanted to see. San Jose had 40 shots on goal, 24 shots blocked, and 17 missed shots. My Common Core math adds that up to 81 attempted shots. He was jumping around a lot. Here is a quote from Coach Peter Laviolette in the Tennessean:
"“He was really good,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “He had a lot of work. A lot of pucks at him, way too much time in our end. There was a lot of pucks, a lot of redirects, a lot of things that were tough for him to save. I thought he was sharp tonight and really earned us a point.”"
We Are Missing Those Injured Defensemen– Just look at that previous paragraph and you’ll see why. Roman Josi and Shea Weber each had more than 25 minutes on ice, and Mattias Ekholm played nearly 24 minutes. We’d like to see those guys playing a little less moving into the playoffs. BTW, if you didn’t read this fascinating article analyzing the Preds DMen, take a minute and do it now. We’ll wait until you get back.
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We Are Happy That There is No 3-on-3 OR Shootouts in the Playoffs – Our lack of success in Overtime is well documented but we actually had as many shots in the OT last night as we did in the shootout! ONE! According to the Nashville broadcast, James Reimer is the only goaltender to beat the Nashville Predators in the shootout this season, and he’s done it twice. We looked pretty bad in the shootout last night.
There Are Still Lineup Decisions – There are only three games left and Coach Lavy has a lot of decisions to make. Colin Wilson looked better after a healthy scratch but sure didn’t light the lamp. Paul Gaustad hasn’t shown much in his three games back and Colton Sissons is still centering that fourth line.
It looks like Calle Jarnkrok is still fitting well on the first line but now the second line is slumping a little. It’s nice to have options but we may have mentioned that there are only three games left until the playoffs.
Roman Josi and Shea Weber Are a Joy to Watch – For some of the younger or newer fans of the Predators, you are being spoiled and will probably never see the likes of this tandem playing together. Weber had his 19th goal last night Josi had another assist upping his record-breaking total. They are without a doubt the Top Pair in the NHL and one of the best of all time.
The Sharks Are Good on the Road – Just in case you thought it should have been a no-brainer that we beat San Jose at home last evening, take a look at this:
Believe it or not, San Jose has been much better on the road this year. They have a losing home record at 17-19-3.
We have three games remaining. We play the Avalanche and Coyotes at home then have a final playoff tuneup in Dallas. Time to build a little momentum for the playoffs.