The rollercoaster season continues for the Nashville Predators as they lose in overtime to the Ottawa Senators, but at least they salvage a point.
With the overtime loss, the Nashville Predators now have five of a possible six points on the current four-game road trip. They finish off the road trip Saturday night at the Boston Bruins.
To consider this road trip a successful one, the Predators really need to steal a win at Boston on Saturday night. With the hole they have dug themselves in, they can’t be alternating wins and losses and leaving points on the table.
This is essentially what they did against Ottawa last night. The Predators had a horrendous second period and basically fell asleep behind the wheel, allowing a much less-talented Ottawa team to seize control of the game and go up 4-1 early in the third period.
Encouraged or discouraged?
Do you leave this game at least a little encouraged by the fact that the Predators scored three unanswered goals to get this thing to overtime? It was a fun comeback to watch, capped off by Roman Josi incredible rush up ice to sore the highlight reel goal. Check it out here:
When you watch this goal by Josi you can’t help but be in awe by what he does here. Takes matter into his own hands by rushing it up the ice and maneuvering around multiple Ottawa defenders and then finished it by scoring the goal.
Josi is now up to 31 points on the season and on pace to top his career high of 61 points in a season set back in 2015-16. Rocco Grimaldi and Ryan Johansen scored the previous two goals to aide in the comeback.
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The problem with all of this is the Predators should’ve never been in this situation. They had a great first period that unfortunately resulted in just one goal. They had nine high-danger chances in this period, per Natural Stat Trick. After that, they only managed four more.
Furthermore, the Senators turned it into another gear in that second period with seven high-danger chances of their own. Difference in the game is they capitalized on their opportunities with three goals.
I leave this game a little discouraged, but somewhat fortunate that the Predators figured out a way to tie it to get a point. The Predators can’t afford to take too many more regulation losses if they’re going to get back into the playoff race. They need to build a long winning streak, or at least a long point streak, to get back into the playoff picture.
Players who stood out
I already mentioned Josi earlier. He continues to ignite this Predators offense that is now 4th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.47, and the league-leading Colorado Avalanche are just barely ahead at 3.54 goals per game. And yet the Predators find themselves where they are in the standings.
The Predators are also top-five in shots per game, averaging over 33 shots on goal per game. And they also astonishingly give up some of the fewest shots per game to opponents in the league averaging just 29 against.
Speaking of getting a lot of shots, Craig Smith has seemed to have woken up. Or perhaps he was already awake and just having some back puck luck. Either way, he’s been playing with his hair on fire lately, and I absolutely love it. He had six shots on goal in the first period last night, and scored the opening goal of the game.
Smith now has three goals in his last two games after going over a month without a goal previously. His abnormally low shooting percentage of 5.8 has to round back out to normal eventually, and with that will be more goals.
After all, he didn’t become a perennial 20-plus goal scorer and 5th in franchise history in goals scored (149) and suddenly forget how to score. He’ll be just fine and hopefully he can have a strong surge in the second half of the season.
On the negative end, Juuse Saros has another rough outing after putting together an outstanding performance Monday night against the Rangers. He seems to be alternating bad starts with good starts recently, which isn’t good enough.
The defensive effort in front of him was lacking as well, but sooner or later Saros and Pekka Rinne are going to have to start stepping up and making some of these big saves. That’s what they’re paid to do, and there’s just not enough consistency from either one of them.
The Predators did gain a point on Winnipeg and are just four points behind them for 4th place in the division, and they have one game in hand. They’re six points behind Dallas for a top-three spot after Dallas got the overtime win over Tampa Bay last night.
I’m not fading the Predators away. They’re going to be fighting tooth and nail to get that final wildcard spot most likely. Once they sneak in, anything can happen. But I do leave this game discouraged that they didn’t take care of business against a team they’re clearly better than talent wise.