The Nashville Predators mind-boggled fans by scratching Kyle Turris before the game and then dropped their fifth-straight game.
To start off the game, the Nashville Predators took the puck down the ice and got off a quick shot. The Winnipeg Jets got it out of the zone and Patrick Laine took it down the ice for a counterattack.
Laine then beats Roman Josi, as Josi tried to check Laine when he crossed the Predators blueline, turning the Jets rush into a two-on-one. Laine passed the puck cross ice to Kyle Connor who then dished it back to Laine while avoiding Ryan Ellis’ block.
Laine shot the puck past Juuse Saros just 18 seconds into the game to give the Jets the early lead. The Predators would trail the rest of the game, but would settle down defensively after this gorgeous give-and-go from the Jets.
With a little over 16 minutes left in the second period, a pass from the right side of Saros went to Nikolaj Ehlers in front of the net, who shot the puck between Steven Santini‘s legs and scored. This was Ehlers’ third-consecutive game with a goal. Additionally, this was his 100th career goal. Jets 2-0
With just under two minutes left in the second period, Nick Bonino scored his ninth goal of the season to cut the Jets lead to 2-1. Bonino scored off a beautiful cross-ice pass from Rocco Grimaldi. Grimaldi was credited with his eighth assist on the season and Dan Hamhuis gets his second assist and second point on the year.
The Predators managed 16 shots on goal in the final period in their attempt to get the equalizer, but Hellebuyck stayed solid in net for the Jets. Much better performance defensively from the Predators, but they can’t muster up enough quality shots to really test Hellebuyck, who has been on fire as of late.
Final Score: Jets 2, Predators 1
With data compiled from naturalstattrick.com, the Nashville Predators managed eighteen scoring chances on 33 credited shots. However, only six were high-danger, three were medium-danger, and a whopping twenty-two were low-danger. The Predators lone goal came on one of their 22 low-danger shots.
Defensively, the Nashville Predators gave up 23 shots and 13 scoring chances to the Jets. Only two shots were high-danger, eight were medium-danger, and 12 were low-danger. One Jets goal came from a high-danger shot and one came from a medium-danger shot.
Saros managed to stop 23 of 25 shots faced, good enough for a .920 save percentage. Even with that commendable save percentage, Saros’ performance could have been better.
Saros’ save percentage on medium and high-danger shots was only .800. He stopped eight of these ten chances. He allowed a goal on one of the Jets two high-danger chances. Additionally he allowed one goal on eight medium-danger attempts.
On the other hand, Connor Hellebuyck earned the first star of the game honor by stopping 38 of 39 shots faced by the Predators, giving him an incredible .974 save percentage.
Hellebuyck managed to stop all six high-danger and all three medium-danger shots from Predators. The lone goal allowed was one of the 22 low-danger attempts. Hellebuyck was seemingly the better goaltender in the game.
The Predators have been running into a lot of stout goaltending recently and last night was another example of that.
Where was Kyle Turris? Turris was at the morning skate, and didn’t seem injured. So why was he scratched? Why was he scratched for Mathieu Olivier?
Let us compare. In 17 games with the Milwaukee Admirals, Olivier has two goals, five assists, seven points and 37 penalty minutes. Turris has four goals, five assists, nine pointsand six penalty minutes in19 games with the Predators.
While Turris doesn’t have the best statistics, he isn’t the main problem for this team. His four goals are more than five starting forwards for the Predators: Austin Watson, Mikael Granlund, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith, Rocco Grimaldi.
Turris has as many assists (5) as Bonino and more than Granlund, Smith, Watson, Hamhuis, Dante Fabbro, Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber. The fact that Turris is playing more productive hockey than many of his teammates but still getting the healthy scratch is a puzzling move from head coach Peter Laviolette.
As for points, Turris’ nine points ranks ahead of four of the Predators starting forwards: Grimaldi, Smith, Watson, and Granlund. Granlund has two points in his last 15 games, while Turris has seven points in the same span. Could Granlund be the next player to get scratched? Who knows what’s going to happen next at this rate.
Why Mathieu Olivier?
Olivier is an enforcer and playing the Jets usually calls for one, but his presence was not very notable tonight so maybe that’s not the reason he got the call.
Seven forwards in Milwaukee rank ahead of Olivier in points. Daniel Carr has 18 points in 14 games. Yakov Trenin has 16 points in 13 games. Even Rem Pitlick is starting to play better in Milwaukee with 12 points in 18 games. Any of those three players seem to be better replacements than Olivier.
These are questions that fans are asking and we may never have answers to them, but when the Vancouver Canucks come into town Thursday, hopefully there will be more clarity. This roster has constantly changed through the first 20 games of the season.
The Predators are obviously looking for help on their third defensive pairing, so they called up Steven Santini to see what the Admirals defenseman, acquired in the P.K. Subban trade, could do. In 9:50 of ice time, Santini managed one shot, one hit and one penalty.
Out of all the options, why was Santini called up? Santini has five assists and zero goals in his 17 games with the Admirals. Defensemen Alexandre Carrier (1 G, 12 A), Matt Donovan (1 G, 9 A), and Frederic Allard (1 G, 7 A) seem more deserving of a shot on the Predators third pairing than Santini.
It is understandable that Nashville would want to see their $1.4 million minor-leaguer who was acquired as the center piece of the blockbuster Subban trade, but maybe next time they will give one of the other guys a shot.
There are positives you can take way from this game. If you take out the early Jets goal 18 seconds into regulation, then you see a Predators team that definitely improved on defense. Maybe you can call this a building block game, but obviously the bleeding hasn’t stopped yet as the Predators keep sliding backward in the standings.
Next game is Thursday night at 7 P.M. CDT as the Predators will look for some revenge over a Canucks team that just beat them last week. The Canucks are an up-and-down team, and the Predators have a good chance of breaking the losing streak here.