Nashville Predators: Offense Non-Existent in Shutout Loss to Columbus

Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) wins a faceoff against Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (95)during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Columbus Blue Jackets center Jack Roslovic (96) wins a faceoff against Nashville Predators center Matt Duchene (95)during the first period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports /

Another night, another loss for the Nashville Predators.  This loss was not exactly like the others, as they were able to maintain relatively even play throughout the game.

The Predators looked sharp at times throughout the night, and were on the receiving end of some questionable goals.  Nonetheless, the end result was a reoccurring theme, as the offense was nowhere to be found in a 3-0 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Here’s how it went down and my three biggest takeaways.

Bad luck for the Nashville Predators

When I say the Predators were on the receiving end of some questionable goals, I’m talking about some insanely bad luck.

If this were any other team or any other season, you might look at this loss and blame it mostly on the whacky goals Juuse Saros surrendered early in the game.

The first came way late in the first period, after the Predators had played strong and looked like they would go into the locker room tied after the opening frame.  This is one you really have to see to believe:

Alas, it was not meant to be, as with seconds left,

Cam Atkinson

fired a shot that bounced off of

Matt Benning

, went up high, and eventually behind Saros, who never saw it.

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It was one of the weirdest goals I can recall ever seeing, and you really have to see it to believe it.

Just under five minutes into the second period, the Jackets would score another strange one, as Max Domi fired a shot right past Saros to make it 2-0.

The weirdness would continue seconds later, as the goal would go under review to see if the shot hit one of the linesmen on the way in.

Upon review, it was obvious that Saros was screened by the zebra, but it was never conclusive that it hit him on the way in, and the goal would stand as called.

I was wondering why they didn’t just ask the linesman if it hit him, and Willy Daunic asked the same thing on the Fox Sports Tennessee broadcast.

Goals like these are part of the game, but you cannot help but feel a little screwed over when they go against you, and that is exactly what happened to the Predators in this one.

Mark Borowiecki echoed this frustration, but also emphasized that you can’t sit around feeling sorry for your luck, per the Nashville Predators official website:

"“It’s incredibly frustrating, especially when you play a good game for the most part, and you just can’t find ways to get rewarded. But having said that, we can’t sit in here and feel sorry for ourselves and say, ‘Oh, we have no puck luck offensively”"

Too little, too late, AGAIN

Stop me if you have heard this story before.  The Predators were down 2-0 going into the third, only to push hard in the final frame and fail due to having too tall of a mountain to climb.

In this game, there actually seemed to be some optimism going into the final 20 minutes, as the Predators had held their own throughout the night and had a chance to overwhelm the Jackets late.  They were able to control the pace, dominating the shot column 13-4, but had nothing to show for it in the end.

Unfortunately, the Predators offense, or lack thereof, was unable to get the best of the Jackets, who are known for stingy defensive play.  It’s just so infuriating, because this team consistently makes sincere efforts to get themselves back in games, but put themselves in too big of holes to overcome.

You cannot win games if you are unable to give your best effort for 60 minutes, and an incomplete effort caught up to the Predators yet again.

No more excuses

Yes, the Predators might have given an overall good effort throughout the game.  Yes, the Predators might have lost this game largely due to two insanely unlucky goals.

But at this point, it really doesn’t matter, because it only seems that this team will find ways to lose games.  Every team suffers bad luck at some point, but when you cannot find the back of the net, you ultimately only have yourself to blame.

Filip Forsberg's Most Efficient Season Being Wasted. light. Trending

The Predators just can’t put pucks in the back of the net on a consistent basis, and at this point, it does not seem as if that will change.  Talk about the positives from this game all you want, but the bigger picture is that the team just cannot overcome their greatest deficiencies.

Other game notes

Somehow Filip Forsberg failed to register a shot on goal in this one. He was aggressive in his skating trying to create offense, but Columbus did a great job bottling him up.

The Blue Jackets put up an astounding 37 hits in this game, while the Predators tried to keep up the physical nature of the game with 23 hits of their own. Luke Kunin and Borowiecki each dealt out three hits.

The Predators didn’t commit a single penalty in the game, while only committed one penalty. The Predators failed to get much going on their lone power play attempt in the first period.

The rebuild just seems to be closer and closer by the moment. They have another meeting with Columbus on Saturday night.