The Nashville Predators continue to struggle early in games and it’s starting to haunt them. They’re living too dangerously.
The Nashville Predators defense has some noticeable issues, and the lack of scoring until the third period is costing them games, including last night against the Florida Panthers. The Predators fall to the Florida Panthers in a shootout, 3-2.
After an uneventful first period, the Predators led the shot total 9-5. After that, the Predators defense struggled again. Slow starts are becoming a disturbing trend now that we’re eight games into the regular season.
In the second period the Predators, as usual, dominated possession controlling the puck in the Panthers zone. They could not convert on any of their scoring chances in the second period including fourteen missed shots, four by Roman Josi.
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After failing to convert multiple times, the Panthers capitalized and scored twice before heading to the second intermission. Florida goals from Denis Malgin and Brett Connolly, with the first one coming on the Florida power play. The Predators penalty kill has now slumped to near the worst in the league at 30th overall.
In the third period, Roman Josi finally tallied a goal and was followed up by an unbelievable
power play goal. It’s a crafty move that leads to the sniper of a shot. Here’s how it looked:
Whether Turris is just trying to increase his trade value or he’s actually ready to live up to his mammoth contract with the Predators, he looks like a whole new man. When
returns, hopefully this team can return to being the high-scoring team they started out to be.
After playing catch-up they headed to overtime. They dominated overtime, but were unable to take advantage of their chances and headed to a shootout. Matt Duchene, Ryan Johansen and Turris all missed their attempts. The lone shootout goal was by Vincent Trocheck, giving Florida the win.
Pekka Rinne was Unbelievable, Again
It seems like Rinne is fine wine, he gets better with time. He stopped 28 of 30 shots, but most of the attempts were very good looks and he bailed out the Predators defense more than a few times. This loss gives him his first of the season. Juuse Saros was in net for the three regulation losses.
Rinne has bailed out the Predators all season and is a key reason they are having success with him in net as opposed to Saros. While Saros is a great goaltender, the high danger chances are just too much to consistently stop, unless of course, your name is Pekka Rinne. This is an effect caused by a struggling defensive corps that undoubtedly needs help.
It’s going to be interesting to see how Peter Laviolette continues to hand out the starts for his two goaltenders if they are on much different tracks. You can’t keep taking away starts from Rinne if he’s playing much better in net, even if you do want Saros getting plenty of starts for the future.
A Reasonable Argument to Help the Defense
Maybe it’s time for Nashville to make a change on the third pair, just to see what happens. In my opinion, they could use some physicality and a d-man that is defense first, not offense first. How about Milwaukee Admirals captain Jarred Tinordi. This was him last night:
This type of physicality and passion is what the Predators are missing. This could be a way to amp the team up and get going before the third period each game. As well as a way to set the tone at any point during the game. At the very least, we would get the chance to see if Tinordi can solidify the third defensive pair that has been the source of many different problems.
Check out this article from Saturday going in detail about some of the Predators depth issues:
Solidify the third defensive pair, convert more offensive chances and start off faster. Also we have to start worrying about the penalty kill being gashed so much. This was a huge strength last season. These things are holding the Predators back, but are fixable.
With a hot Anaheim Ducks team coming to town on Tuesday, the Predators need to be solid on defense and make the most of their opportunities. Facing off against one of the best goaltenders in hockey right now, John Gibson, Nashville needs to show up as they did in Vegas. Let’s also hope that Forsberg is back and we can see the return of the offensive machine that is the Duchene line.