Predators Take One on Chin in Another Ugly Loss to Canucks

The Nashville Predators came away with a 6-2 loss against the Vancouver Canucks. That leaves us at 26-22-7, 5th in the central division.

Before last night’s game, the Canucks were on a four-game losing streak. In November, the Canucks beat the Preds twice with 5-3 and 6-3 wins.

Eight minutes into the first period, Zack MacEwen of the Canucks scored the first goal. After a feed to the slot by J.T. Miller, MacEwen ripped it past Pekka Rinne with a clean wrist shot.

Takeaways from the loss

Before the loss, Coach John Hynes echoed the next to be more consistent and being stronger mentally when things don’t go the team’s way, per Brooks Bratten:

“We need to come in here and have a real focused effort, should be a real intense game, both teams have a lot to play for. The team has been much more consistent. There are times where we have had bad bounces and have gotten behind, but we have not wavered. We used to not have so much belief, but we are coming over the intention to score. It’s all a combination of having strong mental fortitude.”

This doesn’t coincide with the overall mindset of last night’s game. The players were very bouncy and got very behind in different plays.

The second goal of the game was scored by Brandon Sutter on a shot past Rinne.

Just about one minute after Sutter’s goal, Jordie Benn of the Canucks scored his first goal of the season. Starting off the second period of the game, Tanner Pearson scores a goal within the first minute.

About six minutes into the second period, Craig Smith backhanded the first goal of the night for the Predators past Jacob Markstrom. Believe it or not, this goal was actually on a Nashville power play.

Considering the Predators’ struggles on the power play this season, the goal was a step in the right direction for the unit.

Coming about one minute after Smith’s goal, Mikael Granlund scored the second (and last) goal for the Predators for the night. Granlund had an astonishing wrist shot that completed the play with another goal.

Ending the second period, J.T. Miller of the Canucks scored the fifth goal of the night for his team.

Starting off the third period of the game, Jake Virtanen scored the last goal of the night, with him scoring on the power play with a wrist shot past Juuse Saros, who came in for Rinne after four Vancouver goals.

Bad and unlucky night for Rinne

It was definitely not Rinne’s night. Missing a few games put him in an unsafe zone. Personally, I think that Saros should have been in net for this one.

Rinne needed a bit more practice time before being last night’s starting goaltender. As Coach Hynes said in the pregame interview with Bratten:

“Juuse has earned the right to play. Technically he looks very good. He’s tracking the puck well. He is not overplaying pucks.”

There were also some unlucky bounces and deflections that didn’t help matters for Rinne. The defense gave up way too much zone time to Vancouver early on as well.

Recently, Granlund has stood out as a star player. He’s scoring good goals and making straight shots. It has taken him longer than you’d like to see with Nashville, but he’s showing us that the Fiala-Granlund trade is a success for our franchise.

It has been awhile since we have seen Craig Smith in a consistent scoring streak, but he scored a great goal on Markstrom to get his 13th goal of the season. The defense wasn’t the best last night, but Nashville did have two good goals.

The Predators won two of four on the crucial road trip, which probably isn’t a good enough pace to continue if they want to make a sixth-straight playoff appearance.

They return back to Nashville to play the New York Islanders on Thursday night. The Predators have to avoid a long losing streak to keep this season alive.

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