The Nashville Predators have repeated their trend of abysmal 3rd periods, and ultimately fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets with a final of 5-3. It was much like Tuesday night’s game, which saw the Preds strike early and secure a 3-1 lead, but, much like the Tuesday, the team seemed to collapse and the Blue Jackets came roaring back.
These glaring issues are concerning, and has extended the loss streak to 4 games. Let’s take a look at what caused this collapse and what needs to be corrected by Saturday.
Columbus Brought the Heat in the 3rd, and Preds Were Not Prepared
The Nashville Predators actually played a solid first half of the game, securing a 3-1 lead. Tanner Jeannot got a hard working goal, then Ryan Johansen scored a beauty of a backhand off a rebound to make it 2-0. Columbus got one back thanks to Jake Bean, but it was quickly responded courtesy of Yakov Trenin scoring a shot through traffic in the faceoff circle to make it 3-1. After this hwoever, it was all Columbus.
The Preds just couldn’t seem to handle the pressure applied by Columbus, and continued to make botched clearing attempts, ill-advised passing, and in general a complete lack of offense for the Preds.
The Preds paid the price for defending way too much, as Columbus tied it up and then with around 1:30 left in regulation delivered a punch to the gut by going up 4-3. This sort of stuff cannot afford to happen, and fans are really starting to lose their patience. The Preds are winless in North America, and although they improved Tuesday and last night, these third period efforts just are flat out terrible, to say the least.
The Preds have got to stop beating themselves. When they have a lead, they need to protect it not by choosing to only defend, but rather to generate offense where they can without taking unnecessary risks. Essentially, don’t sit too far back in the chair with the lead.
The Power Play was a Disadvantage for the Preds
The Nashville Predators power play has been abysmal to say the least, and its very concerning to see it fall apart. Even with the same personnel that lit up the power play last season, the Preds just can’t seem to get anything going and last night went 0 for 5 on the power play.
Last night saw the Preds give up odd man rushes on the power play far too much, and when the team went on the power play it actually generated more chances for Columbus than it ever did for the Preds.
I have not a clue what is going on with the power play, but you have to change something. The power play is not only an eyesore, but a liability that needs to be corrected. It almost seems like the players are trying to do too much. They need to get back to what makes them successful, which is getting pucks to the net and having traffic in front for tips and rebounds.
Not as Many Penalties, but Too Many Undisciplined Calls
The Nashville Predators actually did a better job in the penalty department, only taking on 6 penalty minutes. However, these penalties were undisciplined, and more very avoidable stick penalties.
We saw these same issues last season, although they seemed to have gotten worse this season. The Preds have got to stop beating themselves with stupid penalties if they want to succeed. Its not as much how many they took last night, but more so just taking very stupid ones and just beating themselves.
These penalty woes have got to stop, plain and simple. The Preds will not be able to get anything going if they keep taking these ill-advised penalties.
The Preds can fix these issues. There is a right to be incredibly frustrated with this team, as they keep beating themselves in these games. All of these issues can be corrected, but the play has been consistently bad especially on the power play and 3rd period.
If the Preds are to have any success this season, these issues have to be corrected now. The fanbase is growing impatient, and the Preds are going to have to figure it out, otherwise things could get even more ugly than they already are.