Nashville Predators: 3 Reasons They Gave Seattle Kraken Their First Win

Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates the puck up ice against Alex Barré-Boulet #12 of the Seattle Kraken in the first period at Bridgestone Arena on October 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Roman Josi #59 of the Nashville Predators skates the puck up ice against Alex Barré-Boulet #12 of the Seattle Kraken in the first period at Bridgestone Arena on October 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

For the first time since the 2018-2019 season, the Nashville Predators have lost a home opener. The Seattle Kraken earned a 4-3 victory on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena to win their first ever game as an NHL franchise.

Honestly, it was an ugly night all-around for the Predators, who failed to get much of anything going all game.

With the exception of an early goal for Eeli Tolvanen, they could do next to nothing until late in the game, when a line combination of Tolvanen, Cody Glass, and Philip Tomasino generated some prime chances.

Mikael Granlund would net one late in the third after The Predators gave up an empty net goal, but even then, there is not much to be proud of. Even in their best period, they failed to get many shots on net despite having lots of zone time.

When you look at this game, three things undid them, and sadly, these are all reoccurring issues. Issues that have to be addressed quickly with a difficult month of October remaining on the schedule.

Vanilla offense from Nashville Predators

Alright, let’s restate the obvious. The Predators’ offense was absolutely dominated by the Kraken, as they had trouble even getting into the zone, let alone getting shots.

Many will say that the two power play goals Seattle scored around 90 seconds apart derailed the Predators’ momentum late in the first period, but the Kraken actually started to dominate zone time and shots after the goal by Tolvanen.

Tolvanen’s goal was the product of working hard for the loose puck, and not so much because there was offensive flow being generated:

This would continue all the way into the third period, when the Predators got better towards the end, but they were nowhere near stellar in their offensive execution or zone entries.

For most of the night, the team relied on Juuse Saros to keep them in the game, and we have seen how that has worked out in the past.

Even the power play, which scored a goal, failed to make many passes across the seam or get shots in high percentage areas. Yes, they scored a goal on the 5-on-3, but that is still not a recipe for success.

Now, we probably should have expected this due to the youth on the Predators and the defensive stinginess of the Kraken. Nonetheless, seeing them generate almost nothing on offense all night was brutal to watch.

Horrendous penalty killing

Speaking of those two power play goals against, penalty killing came back to bite the Nashville Predators, again. On the only two kills they had all night, they allowed goals on both, and the Kraken would only score one more non-empty net goal at even strength.

The first one was partially self-inflicted, as Dante Fabbro came into Saros’ pathway for some reason. Not only did this obstruct Saros’ vision, but Fabbro would deflect the puck on the way in, giving Saros no chance to save it.

The second one, however, was a complete lapse, as Brandon Tanev was left all alone in front of the net and took complete advantage.

It looked like the Predators had made massive strides on the penalty kill last year, and even in this past preseason, but like the team as a whole, it was Saros doing much of the heavy lifting for them.

Too little, too late

The way this game unfolded felt all too familiar. The Predators would look flat in the first two periods, get progressively better in the third, and come back and make it interesting when it was just too late to truly make a comeback.

The fact that they gave up an empty netter and did not score in the third until seconds after that just makes this ending even more aggravating.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that Tomasino showed a quick flash of his offensive abilities late in the game while the Predators were making that last surge. He nearly helped generate a goal off of Tolvanen’s stick, but Philipp Grubauer stood tall.

Let the Reign of Juuse Saros Begin for Nashville Predators. light. Related Story

What is it with this team and their tendency to struggle for a whole game and finally take over when they just do not have enough gas left in the tank? No matter how you want to slice it, this game is yet another reflection of this team’s inability to play a full 60-minute affair.

Even Tolvanen was brutally honest, which we can all appreciate, about how the team didn’t play a complete game and it cost them, per Alex Daugherty of AtoZ Sports:

Granlund did it end up with a three-point effort on the night, and Filip Forsberg tallied two assists. However, this just wasn’t enough to overcome the costly defensive breakdowns.

Yes, this Nashville Predators team, especially as young as it is, is going to struggle to hang with more seasoned teams for full games, but the fact that this has been a problem with this team for years now and still is is alarming.