Just five games into the 2022-23 NHL season, the Nashville Predators are already coming under heavy criticism as they find themselves in the midst of a three-game losing streak.
It’s safe to say that patience is very thin from the Nashville Predators’ fanbase this season, especially considering all of the changes made over the offseason.
Each loss has come in different fashion, but with the same disappointing result of the team just not finishing in key moments and breaking down defensively to leave Juuse Saros in difficult situations for any goaltender to handle.
Last night’s 4-3 loss via the shootout saw the Nashville Predators surrender two late goals over the last seven minutes of regulation. You could smell a goal coming by the Kings as they put the pressure on Saros and the defensive front, leading to an absurd number of trips to the penalty box.
More Bad Penalties and Sloppy Defensive Play for Nashville Predators
The Predators were in rare territory sending the Kings to eight power play chances, and to their credit, stopping seven of those. But even if they only surrendered one power play goal in all of those chances, the damage was done by getting them out of their offensive rhythm.
You simply can’t get in a groove when you’re constantly on the penalty kill, expending all of that energy. It was circled as a focal point going into the season, but through five games the same issues are sticking around.
For instance, the most consistent line for the Predators this season has been the Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter line. Eeli Tolvanen has been getting work with them over the last couple of games. This line, as reliable as it has been, only had 6:32 of ice time at 5v5 due to all of the penalties.
Many of the penalties were fair calls, including a couple from Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Duchene. They looked more like frustration penalties and losing focus, which just can’t happen. Lauzon and Duchene each had tripping penalties that can’t happen.
Lauzon’s 2nd period tripping penalty resulted in the Kings’ lone power play goal to tie it at 1-1. I don’t even want to imagine what the score may have been if the Predators were going up against a more elite power play like the Avalanche, Oilers or Lightning.
To make matters worse, the Predators’ woes on the power play continued as well. They went 0-for-5 with the man advantage. This makes them 1-for-21 through five games. This is going to be a long and demoralizing season if that trend stays true.
The lone power play goal for the Predators this season came on the 5-on-3 advantage in a matchup with the Dallas Stars when the game was already out of hand.
There were some positives from last night
On the positive end, Cody Glass scored his first career goal in a Nashville Predators uniform early in the game. He pinpointed the shot perfectly over Cal Petersen’s right shoulder.
You love to see Glass not panic in that situation and make what is not an easy shot from that far out. It took a highly accurate shot. The confidence is growing by the day.
Filip Forsberg put the Predators back ahead for his second goal of the season.
Heading into the game it was clear that the top line of Forsberg, Mikael Granlund and Matt Duchene had to step up their level of play. Seeing all three get involved and for Forsberg to finish it off in the back of the net was good to see.
Tanner Jeannot scored a hard-working goal in close on Petersen late in the 2nd period. Petersen burped up a rebound and Jeannot didn’t give up on the play. At this point you’re thinking the Predators are settling in and will put this one away. It was a dominant middle frame from them.
However, the tables turned in the 3rd period as the Kings ramped up the pressure, and Petersen stood tall with some really clutch saves. Not to be outdone, Saros also responded with some really spectacular saves of his own.
Both teams traded chances in the overtime and the Nashville Predators nearly won the game, but again Petersen came up solid.
Saros finishes with 32 saves and 0.37 Goals Saved Above Expected. He did what he could, and this loss isn’t even remotely on him.
The shootout is what it is. It should’ve never gotten to that point, but now the Nashville Predators have to take another one on the chin and get ready for the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.