Another rough one on the chin for the Nashville Predators after they end their road trip with a loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
The Nashville Predators couldn’t ever take control of this game despite tying it up a couple times and showing life late in the third period. Ultimately the Predators were sent to their fifth loss in their last six games after losing 5-3.
This game featured two teams looking to break current rough patches. Something had to give. Someone had to come out with a win and get back on the right track, and the Canucks came out victorious.
The final score doesn’t tell the whole story. It was a very evenly-matched game for most of the first two periods. In fact, the third period began with the score tied 1-1 before the Canucks took advantage of a shaky Predators penalty kill to eventually take control.
Tale of two different games
The first two periods were a grudge match. Neither team gave up much of an inch, and it had a similar feeling to the game with San Jose on Saturday night. The Predators played well defensively and were getting some decent looks on net but just couldn’t bury them.
In the second period the Predators had to go in comeback mode after surrendering their first of three power play goals on the night. It took over 12 minutes after, but the Predators eventually got the equalizer from Calle Jarnkrok.
At this point you like what your’e seeing from the Predators. They’re playing stout on defense and creating pressure on the offensive end. Both teams are going toe-to-toe, but in the end you like the Predators to rise above it and win out based on talent alone.
The shifting point happened in the third period when the Predators couldn’t muster up one penalty kill. At 5-on-5 the game was very even, but the Predators couldn’t show much resistance at all when defending the Vancouver power play. You can question the officiating all you want, but you still have to go out and execute successfully at least once on the penalty kill and maybe we’re having a different discussion.
Filip Forsberg tallied a goal with a little over five minutes remaining to keep his goal streak alive, but it was too little too late. The Canucks would add an empty net goal to bring us to the 5-3 final score. Predators fall to 9-6-3 overall and fall further behind Colorado and St.Louis in the Central Division race.
Coming back home
I’m not looking over the ledge or thinking about jumping just yet. It’s still very early and I remain confident this team’s pure talent alone will rise up to get to the playoffs. However, my concern level is quickly rising on if this team can even get past the first round.
The glaring problem and the low-hanging fruit is the penalty kill. Penalties happen in this game and the Predators are now a liability when it comes to killing off these penalties. It’s the opposite problem of last year when the Predators couldn’t connect on their own power plays.
It’s not just about wins and losses. Rough patches happen to every team over the course of an 82-game season. What’s more concerning is the constant changing of lineups only to come up with no answers. We learned nothing new about tonight’s experiment.
Eventually Peter Laviolette has to find a combination he likes and stick with it. Even if it doesn’t work initially. There’s no continuity with this team. Just a collection of very talented players who don’t know how to play at their maximum potential as a unit.
All of this doesn’t translate well to a deep playoff run. Tonight’s unfortunate result is another example of that. The Canucks are a young team that’s rebuilding and looking to get back into contention. At least on paper, they’re not on the Predators’ talent level. Yet they come out with the win, and the Predators are left searching for more answers.