Vegas Crushes Nashville Predators: Three Takeaways from the Loss

Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) is hit by Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Cotter (43) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) is hit by Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Cotter (43) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

Coming out of the 11-day All-Star break the Nashville Predators fell 5-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. Nashville was held to six shots after two periods of play and Matt Duchene’s lone goal at 5:04 of the first period.

“We have to get some answers to why did it occur and then the next one is how are we going to make sure we are a better team and playing at the level that we need to play at that we know we can play at against Philadelphia,”

Predators Head Coach John Hynes said to 102.5 The Game

Nashville will play the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday morning with an 11:30 am puck drop.

A Quick start

All the Golden Knights needed was 5:31 in the first to score three goals leading 3-1 after one frame of play. Vegas kept a lot of the Predators offensive pressure to the outside allowing four shots to reach Adin Hill.

A pure rusty first period from the Predators. Roman Josi fumbled a puck after an offensive faceoff win by Cody Glass 14 minutes into the game. William Carrier broke free on the breakaway, scoring his 13th of the season to give Vegas its first lead of the night.

“I gave them a couple of easy goals,” Josi told reporters after the loss. “It wasn’t good enough obviously. We didn’t get enough zone time, I thought we had some better looks in the second, but we never got enough zone time.”

Nashville went 0-for-1 on the powerplay and the Golden Knights continued to stave off any chances the Predators special teams tried to set up. Vegas led the scoring chances 14-4 on even strength having nothing short of a dominant start.

Puck Possession

Through the first 40 minutes, the Predators were held to six shots on net. Their fewest ever recorded in a single game was nine against the Colorado Avalanche back on Jan. 1, 2001, losing 5-1. Nashville ended the game with 18 shots and allowed 30 to get to Saros.

The Golden Knights tweeted out that the six shots allowed were the fewest in franchise history and the two allowed in the second period tied a team record for the fewest allowed in a road period.

“I’ll be honest I thought we forced too many [shots], that’s why we didn’t have as much,” Duchene said. “They did a great job every time a shot was taken there was five guys right inside of the house for them. I guess you learn from that and move forward.”

Chandler Stephenson scored a controversial goal 2:58 into the second period. William Carrier was tied up with recent call-up Kevin Gravel in front of the net. Saros was pushing off of his right leg when he ran into the duo and couldn’t get adjusted for a save. He slapped his stick on the ice and waved his arms at the Predators bench in hopes of getting a challenge.

“No, it was clear cut that he was pushed into the blue paint,” Hynes said.” I don’t think Juuse saw but Gravel pushed him right in, but it was a situation where we needed an early box out. When the player was inside position and is pushed right into the goalie that’s not going to get called.”

Vegas continued to control the pace of the game as the Predators were held without a shot on net from 4:18 left in the first to 11:03 of the second period. Nashville found the net twice in the second and continued to lose sight of clean passes and opportunities to get one past Hill.

“We want to be in a better [playoff] spot obviously and losing games like this doesn’t help, but I think you want to build towards the level we were at when we went on break and we needed a mental rest,” Duchene said. “We were gassed we went through a lot of ups and downs. I think tonight it’s like ‘okay we’re back into it now’ and we’re going push forward here this week and be ready for Saturday.”

Scoring Chances

Vegas Head Coach Bruce Cassidy and the Golden Knights asserted their game plan with ease. They concluded the start of their father’s trip leading scoring chances 31-22 at even-strength play.

Vegas also led in the high-danger chance category as well 14-3 by the end of the night.

“When we were in the offensive zone we weren’t able to get over pucks and sustain offense,” Hynes said. “From a competitive standpoint, we weren’t at the level that you need to give yourself a chance to win a game.”

Next. Predators Extend Cole Smith, Fans Revolt. dark