The Nashville Predators came back home to Bridgestone Arena and began recuperating after a tough stretch of games in Florida. Now they get to face the Tampa Bay Lightning, or “Champa Bay” as some are calling them after the city of Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl victory last night.
Out of a possible eight points that the Predators could have gained in the standings while in Florida, they came home with just two.
The Predators struggled against Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning. They then split two games with the Florida Panthers.
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The Predators now find themselves facing yet another tough test. They begin a back-to-back set against the Lightning on Monday.
Hopefully, the limited fans in Bridgestone and their new Reverse Retro jerseys will help bring the Predators a much-needed victory.
The Struggles Continue
While we have seen flashes of brilliant play from the Predators this season, they continue to miss the mark.
The Predators’ special teams looked better in their series against the Panthers. They managed to score two power-play goals in the first game with Florida but allowed two goals when on the penalty kill.
In the second game against Florida, the Predators killed both penalties they faced. Their power-play only had an 8-second opportunity at the end of the game.
The Predators continue to struggle to put a full sixty-minute game together. In all four games against the Panthers and Lightning, the Predators’ second-period performances have hampered their ability to put them in a position to win.
What the Nashville Predators need to do
I am starting to sound like a broken record, but the Predators continue to make the same mistakes every game. If they are to succeed against a top team like the Lightning, they have to take a stand and clean up the mistakes that continue to plague them.
Tampa Bay remains one of the most tenacious teams in the NHL. They are masters of taking advantage of any weaknesses or mistakes that a team makes. They sit at the top of the Central Division and are clearly the team to beat.
A vicious Tampa Bay power-play means that the Predators have got to stay out of the penalty box. For the Lightning, an ill-advised Predators penalty almost guarantees them a goal every time.
With their power play showing small amounts of improvement, the Predators must find ways to score when presented with a power play opportunity. They are 6-for-41 on the season and have left several goals on the table so far.
The Predators are among some of the worst when it comes to generating offensive scoring chances, per JFresh Hockey:
Speaking of scoring, the Predators need to continue getting shots to the net but do a better job with second shot opportunities and stop the one and done turnovers.
Forsberg and Matt Duchene had multiple goals in the first matchup with the Panthers but then went cold in the next game. Inconsistency kills any momentum that the Predators build.
One bright spot for the Predators is the recent play of Pekka Rinne. He is showing that he can still be counted on and that he isn’t ready to give up his starting job. Expect him in goal on Monday.
Lastly, the Predators must, and this is a big must, play a full 60-minute game and play with intensity for all three periods. Their second-period lapses have caused them to have to mount comebacks that usually result in losses.
The Predators have spent any “it’s still early in the season” grace that they had. They are entering a dangerous time where they have to turn a corner if they hope to make the playoffs.
Hopefully, turning the corner for the Predators means picking up four points against the Stanley Cup Champions.