It’s fun to watch your team claw back into a game, but it the magic never seems to last. The Nashville Predators found that out the hard way on Thursday.
There’s almost nothing better than a 4-3 game go down to the final moments as the trailing team throws everything they have at the net. It’s not as fun when your team doesn’t tie it up, but from an objective point of view, it’s better than any show on television. As the seconds ticked off the clock, fans cheered their Nashville Predators on, but to no avail.
The Nashville Predators once again had a forgettable first period and an objectively bad second period. It almost seemed like the Predators were waiting to be down in the third to show any signs of life. Well, after an unlucky bounce/bad goal/weird shot from Curtis Lazar, the Predators woke up from their nap and attempted yet another late game comeback. Everyone loves the comeback kids, but the magic never truly lasts. The Calgary Flames know this first hand as they were in the same situation in the 2014-15 season.
It wasn’t all bad, just as it wasn’t all good, so let’s take a look at both.
Filling A Void
Credit to Jarnkrok, he was much better offensively than I thought he’d be. Even though he didn’t score a goal, he helped generate a lot of unblocked shots and produced a high danger chance, which the Predators didn’t create many of. Turris will be back soon and Jarnkrok will most likely be moved back to the third line wing, but I’m curious if he’ll be able to keep up his offensive production.
The rest of the season aside, Jarnkrok was a bright spot on Thursday.
The Third Pairing Got Crushed
Not pretty, to say the least. They received very little sheltering as far as zone starts go, but they never really faced top six talent. This just wasn’t a good game for them, and continuing evidence that the bottom two needs a bit of fresh blood. I’d really like to see Alexandre Carrier get a shot, but don’t expect Peter Laviolette to ever make a change. To give you a better impression of how bad the Nashville Predators were with the pair on the ice, let’s compare with vs without.
Sorry for all the colors, I’m not very good with graphs. We’re using the same stats as the prior chart. It’s pretty clear that the Nashville Predators are much better without them on the ice. You may be saying, “But George, isn’t it too easy to say that the Predators are better with P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, or Mattias Ekholm on the ice rather than Weber or Emelin?” Yes, you’re right. But the gap shouldn’t be this big. The third pair should be able to put a 40% Fenwick and control more than 20% of the scoring chances. But please, the best option isn’t Mike Green, so let’s not even pretend to think about that!
I didn’t think Pekka Rinne would be as good as he has been this season, but he’s kept it up. Even though that fourth goal was bit of a bad goal (weird tip/bounce), Rinne was on all game. The only issue is that he received little help. Check out the heat map.
The deep blue area in front of the net in Calgary’s offensive zone is not good, and it’s a terrible trend that has haunted the Predators all year. The Flames could’ve easily had two or three more goals if Rinne had been anything less than Vezina worthy.
Wheelin’ And Dealin
Onto the next one eh? An old rivalry will be showcased as the Detroit Red Wings come to Nashville on Saturday. They’re clearly not the superpower they once were, but they shouldn’t be taken lightly.