Turns out that the two wins from last week did not mean anything for the Nashville Predators. Their road trip continued with a brutal smack back to reality by the Seattle Kraken, falling by a lopsided score of 5-1.
It was an onslaught from literally the first minute, as the Kraken scored on their first shot of the game and made it 4-0 by the end of the opening frame. It was just another one of those games, and they are becoming increasingly more common as the season goes.
You can tell changes need to be made with this Nashville Predators team, especially when it is the same issues that keep repeating themselves. Let’s look at what went wrong in this game.
Juuse Saros has not been on his game
Now do not read this and assume I am saying that Saros is one of the main reasons for the Predators struggling overall. It is a team game and he can only do so much. But you can be a part of the problem without being most of it, and Saros has not been blameless so far.
First of all, his base stats have been alarming, as he has only a .904 save percentage and a whopping 3.12 GAA. When one of the best goaltenders in the league has those numbers, there is a problem, and while he is often left out to dry, some of this is his fault.
Saros gave up soft goals to start the game against Vancouver, and he did so on the very first shot on goal in the matchup with the Kraken on Tuesday. When those happen so early in the game, they just deflate the team, and the Predators have been reeling when that has been the case.
Now it will take a lot for Saros to actually get benched, but with how well Kevin Lankinen has performed so far, he has to be feeling at least a little pressure at this point.
Again, not even close to all of this is on Saros, but he does have to be better.
Defensive breakdowns continue to plague Nashville Predators
A hallmark of Nashville Predators hockey, especially under Head Coach John Hynes, has been turnovers in the defensive zone or inexplicable lapses after controlling play for a decent period of time. They hardly controlled play in this game, but the breakdowns were in full effect.
The second goal of the game was a perfect example, as the Predators actually possessed the puck for a bit in the offensive zone, but Jeremy Lauzon over-pursued it, which led to a two-on-one and subsequently a goal.
The third and fourth ones were blatant turnovers in the defensive zone, which put the Kraken in prime scoring position, and those goals you cannot blame Saros for one bit. It is hard to blame the coaches for careless plays like that, but when they happen all the time, it is just as hard to not to place at least some of the blame on the system.
It is just so frustrating when these plays happen because they are easy fixes in theory, but such backbreakers. How this has not yet been solved is beyond concerning.
Nashville Predators generate zero offense
If you were to just look at the shot count from this game, you would conclude that the Predators should have had a chance to win. Most of their first four goals against were careless errors, you would have to think that they were making some things happen offensively, right?
Virtually nothing happened offensively for the Predators. Just about none of their shots were quality opportunities, and besides their only goal of the game, there were maybe three other instances that jumped out as legitimate opportunities to score. The goal was also on a breakaway, not off of sustained pressure or any actual offensive work.
The team looked like they had zero chemistry, as their passes were not connecting, and they had to hope shots from the blue line or other low percentage areas were going in, which of course was not happening. It is hard to mention the offense without mentioning the powerplay, which was still awful.
The team was just flat overall, and when you combine the above issues with a lineup full of bottom-line grinders instead of skilled youth, you get what you got last night. John Hynes has a lot to fix, and we are seeing his job security dwindle by the day as the Predators continue to sink.