Game 3 of the series against Colorado is one we would like to forget. The Nashville Predators’ slow start doomed them to a loss.
I have long been a fan of the show “The Big Bang Theory.” Maybe the writing is not the best in the world, but the character interactions provide the comic-relief I need after a stressful day. In Episode 8 of season 4, the guys on the show are delayed to getting in line for tickets for a special showing of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The entire time, Sheldon Cooper encourages his compadres to hustle in order to get in line. Their slow start causes them to miss the movie, to which Sheldon says “I informed you thusly,” instead of “I told you so.”
Well, Nashville Predators, I informed you thusly.
In my Game 3 preview yesterday, I discussed several keys to the game:
- Gain longer possessions in the offensive zone.
- Pepper Jonathan Bernier with shots
- Tighten up the defense on Colorado’s top line.
None of these things occurred, and the Predators were decimated from the start of the game. And the Avalanche took some control in the series.
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The only numbers that matter at the end of the day are the scoreboard and the series results. But, the numbers behind the 5-3 Predators loss tell an interesting story. The first few moments of the game showed promise for the Predators. A quick dump into the offensive zone was followed by Austin Watson hitting the post on the first shot of the game. From there, thing declined in a hurry.
Just under two minutes into the game, the Avalanche tally the first goal of the game. A failed clearing attempt by Roman Josi lead to Colorado gaining more time in their offensive zone. Carl Soderberg draws two defenders and passes the puck to a cutting Blake Comeau. With defenders out of position, Comeau had a clear path to the goal, beating Pekka Rinne on the glove side.
For much of opening period, Colorado kept the Predators away from the net. Nashville gained only five shots at even strength during the first 20 minutes, leading to one high-danger chance. Colorado avalanched continued through the period. Gabriel Bourque notched his second goal of the series at the 13:24 mark of the period. Followed by Nathan MacKinnon with just under two minutes left. Each goal coming in front of the net.
The Predators fought back in the second period, gaining their first goal of the game halfway through the period. However, it was after MacKinnon took a breakaway chance to score again. The third period furthered the battle, with the Predators gaining goals from Colton Sissons and Austin Watson, but it was not enough. Nashville fell 5-3.
By the numbers
The slow start for the Nashville Predators gave the Avalanche all the moment needed to bury their opponent. The first four Colorado goals during the game occurred during even-strength moments. Nashville was outshot 9-5 in the first period, then 8-2 in the second period during 5v5 play. Complicating matters for Nashville were the 7 total penalties called on them during the first and second period.
That is just the start. With the high number of penalties, Nashville’s fourth line saw little time on the ice. Mike Fisher and Mikka Salomaki played around six minutes but saw a goal and two high-danger chances occur on their watch. Ryan Hartman played a bit longer; however, the Avalanche did not score while he was on the ice.
The worse night was turned in by Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. Three of the Colorado goals were tallied and six high-danger chances were gained during their 5v5 time on the ice. Only five Avalanche players had CorsiFor ratings under 50% with Josi on the ice. P.K. Subban held only two opponents to under 50 percent. The lapses on defense continue to lead to great scoring opportunities for Colorado.
It has been an issue all season. The blue line for the Predators has left goalies out to dry. Opponents are gaining time in the slots and around the goal, leading to quality shot chances.
In terms of offense, the numbers show the Predators won the Corsi-battle overall. Of course, much of this came during power plays or late in the game when they played from behind. But, the Avalanche continued to force the Nashville offense to play along the wall early in the game. Poor passing and block shots from the point ended Predator possession before they even started. Colorado flew around the ice with purpose, the Predators with hope.
No quality possession, poor defense were needed but not achieved. The ending results were obvious.