Nashville Predators: Biggest Takeaways from Another Loss to Tampa

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) defends Nashville Predators defenseman Jeremy Davies (38) on the boards during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Erik Cernak (81) defends Nashville Predators defenseman Jeremy Davies (38) on the boards during the second period at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

After suffering a tough loss to Carolina on Thursday, the Nashville Predators traveled to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Predators were looking for their first win against Tampa this season.

On a night that saw the Lightning hanging their Stanley Cup banner, the Predators, down two goals early,  put up a bit of a fight and almost equalized the score. However, Tampa proved, once again, why they are Stanley Cup champions, winning by a score of 6-3.

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The Predators were still missing several key players due to injury, but Tampa Bay is just too good and could quite possibly pull off the repeat and win the Stanley Cup yet again.

The Kids Are Alright

Frederic Allard, who the Predators drafted in 2016, finally made his NHL debut. Allard was desperately needed as the Predators’ defensive core remains decimated by injuries and suspension in Dante Fabbro’s case.

Defenseman Alexander Carrier, who played his fifth game of the season, scored his first NHL goal off a breakaway pass from Yakov Trenin. Carrier’s goal was the spark that helped the Predators dig in and start chipping away at their deficit.

With so many injuries, the silver lining was the fact that the Predators’ younger players continued to get some ice time. If there is to be a rebuild like we are thinking, then games like this are invaluable experiences for them.

The Nashville Predators Don’t Quit

Say what you will about the Predators, but they did not quit even when they were down several goals. At one point, the score was 4-1, and the Predators continued to dig and fight, eventually pulling within one goal.

If Head Coach John Hynes can go one or two games without changing the lines, some chemistry may start to build with this roster. Building lines to match who they are playing and inexplicable scratches isn’t working out for the Predators and may be the cause of some of their issues.

While the Predators ultimately fell to Tampa, they did show us some things to be excited about. Their tenacity and fight were good to see, as being down a goal or two usually derails this team.

Moving Forward

The Predators are now halfway through their epic eight-game road trip. So far, they have only managed to pick up three points, and they still have to face Tampa again, Florida twice, and Dallas to finish the trip.

Until the Predators can get some of their injured players back, they will remain a team compromised of the “youth movement” players that fans want to see in the lineup.

Fabbro will be back in the lineup on Monday, which should help them defensively, but it will also mean one of the younger players will be sent back to the taxi squad.

We may also see the return of goaltender Juuse Saros who is also on the injured reserve list. Pekka Rinne has now started six straight games and deserves some rest.

If they can catch some breaks, get more organized in the offensive zone, and not take “one and done” shots, they will have some chances to upset some teams and maybe pull off the impossible by beating Tampa on Monday.

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As we march towards the trade deadline, I am not sure that even a string of wins will stop the inevitable. Make no mistake. Changes are coming to this roster.

It is always good to see the Predators play as hard as they did for some parts of last night’s game against Tampa Bay. Picking up wins at this point is always welcome as well, but the time has come to restructure this team.

The fans are finally going to see a youth movement whether the front office wants it or not. The time has come to make some hard decisions for the team and possibly management.