The Nashville Predators are on a two-game losing streak and are searching for anything to provide a spark that can ignite their season out of the darkness.
Heading into their fourth matchup of the season against Columbus, the Predators have lost two-straight, and only playing their second game in over a week.
The Predators had four days off after the two games against the Dallas Stars were postponed due to bad weather in Texas. They came to Columbus in hopes of righting the ship and getting their season back on track. It was not to be.
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After playing surprisingly well for almost a full 60 minutes, the Predators could not score a goal against the Blue Jackets.
The two goals against the Predators were both fluky and pretty much unbelievable to watch. The third empty-netter was the icing on the cake for Columbus.
The Predators have to put this tough loss behind them as they face this same Columbus team again on Saturday night.
What adjustments will be made by Head Coach John Hynes?
Columbus Will Stick to their Gameplan
The Blue Jackets are a tough, defensive team to play against. In Thursday night’s game, they had 37 hits on the Predators. They will need to keep up this intensity as Nashville will be looking to ramp up theirs.
The Blue Jackets will stick to the same blueprint for Saturday’s game against the Predators. However, they may look for more output from the recently acquired Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, who were both held to only one shot on goal apiece.
The Predators also need to watch out for Cam Atkinson, who is on a tear right now, scoring nine points (5 goals, 4 assists) in his last five games.
The Blue Jackets will be looking to contain the Predators once again and not allow them to set up in the offensive zone. Elvis Merzlikins stopped 32 pucks in his shutout victory against the Predators; however, few were high-quality shots. Expect to see him in goal on Saturday.
The Predators Need the Same Effort, Better Execution
The Predators will need to play with the same intensity that they showed on Thursday. While the game was low on scoring, especially since the Predators managed no goals, the two team’s defenses were evenly matched. This game could be another defensive, low-scoring affair.
The main issue facing the Predators is their glaring inability to score goals. On Thursday, they had 32 shots on goal, but few, if any, presented a challenge to Merzlikins.
Viktor Arvidsson led the team with four shots, but the night’s surprising stat was that Filip Forsberg had zero shots. Mikael Granlund only managed one. More production is desperately needed from these three players.
The Predators will have to do a better job of getting the puck cleanly into the offensive zone if they hope to beat Columbus. The Blue Jackets jammed up the Predators and either forced them to turn over the puck or held them to only one shot attempt.
Once in the zone, the Predators need to take away the goaltender’s clear vision of the puck, keep possession, and search for quality shots closer to the net.
The Predators desperately need a win on Saturday night if they hope to gain momentum and begin the tall task of climbing up in the standings. They currently sit in seventh place, only one point ahead of the lowly Detroit Red Wings.
The team and fans alike continue to be baffled by the Predators’ play and hope that things will change with each subsequent game. A monumental run where the Predators rip off a five-game win streak is much needed and would go a long way in restoring faith.
The game starts at 6:00 P.M. CDT and, as usual, will be televised regionally on Fox Sports Tennessee. Follow along with us on Twitter for up-to-date action in the game!