Forget about being up against the NHL’s top team in the Boston Bruins on Thursday night; that was a travesty of a display by the Nashville Predators in front of their fans, or the few fans that weren’t loudly cheering on the Bruins.
The Nashville Predators lost 5-0 to the NHL-leading Bruins in a game of total domination and very little fighting from the heavy underdog. It was apparent almost immediately after the opening puck drop.
This all comes as the Predators are increasingly becoming more likely to be sellers at the trade deadline in a couple weeks, and the real question is just how heavy of sellers they’ll be?
Nashville Predators Show No Life, Bruins Fans Take over Bridgestone
It’s been a gradual fall from grace for the Nashville Predators since the 2017 Stanley Cup Final run. Rest assured; this didn’t happen all at once. It’s been a decline that has gotten more and more bleak over the years.
Last night, it was illustrated to a tee just how far the Nashville Predators have fallen. It’s not about losing to the Bruins, who are in the midst of making NHL regular season history with a purely insane record of 41-8-5.
What makes this feel like rock bottom for the Predators after this loss to the Bruins is how crystal clear it is that the gap is wider than ever between them and the truly elite Stanley Cup contending teams.
The game opened with the Predators showing us more of the same. Trouble exiting the zone and finding high quality scoring chances. In return, the Bruins were using their speed and pinpoint passing to dissect the Predators defensive structure.
It only took the Bruins around three minutes of regulation to strike first with a missed shot by
that sent the puck buzzing around the boards for a waiting
You can call it bad puck luck, and maybe it is to a degree, but nonetheless this isn’t an outlier by any stretch of the imagination.
The Predators would claw their way to only being down a goal at the first intermission, but the bottom would fall out in the second period with three more Bruins goals and Predators defenders just looking lost on two deflection goals.
No one is shocked that the Predators lost to the Bruins. Let’s get that straight. However, the way this team keeps showing very little fight or energy is why breaking it apart at the trade deadline has never been more logical.
Key Quotes from the Nashville Predators
More so than normal, I was interested to see what coaches and players would have to say about this embarrassing showing in front of the outnumbered Predators fans.
“We see a lot of missed passes, some odd-man rushes that we’d like to generate something and we don’t. There’s a willingness and a price to pay if you want to win in this league. ” –-Ryan McDonagh on Preds 5-0 Loss to Boston
McDonagh also took a blast into the boards early in the game trying to set up Roman Josi on a drop pass. It led to one of the better shots on Boston goaltender Jeremy Swayman all evening, who made his seventh career shutout.
You saw a lot of timing issues on passes and zone entries. Almost like watching a preseason game and experimenting with new line combinations before the regular season starts.
The enormous problem with this is, well, we’re in mid-February now if you’re not keeping tabs.
Josi had a much more revealing and unfiltered response to how this game went, and what the players were feeling in the locker room.
Josi’s six-game point streak came to an end. Coming into the game, Josi had a stretch of getting points in 10 of the last 11 games. Heroics from Josi alone weren’t going to save the Predators in this one.
To further compound the problems, the Predators got decimated in the faceoff circle, put up a goose egg on the power play in three chances, and racked up 18 penalty minutes including a Tanner Jeannot game misconduct with the game completely out of hand in the third period.
Filip Forsberg missed his second-straight game after suffering the nasty fall to the ice in the win over Philly on Saturday. Philip Tomasino has tried to fill the void, but obviously there is some rust, and it doesn’t help that he is having to shake that off on a team that is struggling as a whole.
Final Consensus from this Eye-Opening Loss…
I will reiterate that this isn’t about losing to the Boston Bruins. It’s about how it went down and how this team lost its energy and passion. A team that knows they’re all on notice, mostly, to get traded in a couple weeks. A team with no clear direction.
Perhaps the Predators give us one more stretch of good hockey to remain hanging on by a thread, but with the trade deadline so close, the front office has no choice but to sell.
Since the All-Star break, the Predators have been outscored 15-5 with a narrow overtime victory over the Flyers as their only win.
I’ve been preaching that lack of offensive consistency isn’t sustainable, even when they were winning. The Predators have scored more than three goals in a game just twice since arguably the most impressive win of the season on January 5 against the Hurricanes, the game where Juuse Saros made 64 saves.
Unless some unforeseen and improbable wakeup call from the veterans ignites more goal support for Saros, then this team will undoubtedly be playing irrelevant hockey in late March and into April.