For the first time all season, the Nashville Predators failed to surpass at least 20 shots on goal in a game, leading to a 3-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
Nashville’s meager 17 shots on goal was by far it’s lowest total in a game up to this point, falling 10 shots shy of it’s 27 shots on goal against the New York Rangers.
It’s definitely a setback and a reminder that this Predators team is still learning and going through the growing pains of learning this new offense under Head Coach Andrew Brunette. Their record falls back under .500 with a 3-4-0 record.
Nashville Predators Were Lucky to Be in this Game Late in 3rd Period
The Predators still managed to score two really pretty goals from Colton Sissons and Kiefer Sherwood, continuing their theme of depth scoring up and down the roster. However, it was another quiet night from their top veteran weapons like Filip Forsberg and Ryan O’Reilly.
Forsberg managed to get just four shots on net, while O’Reilly wasn’t able to get any shots on net. As nice as it is to know you’ve got depth scoring, you can’t win games regularly against top competition if Forsberg and O’Reilly aren’t heavily involved in the offense.
Both O’Reilly and Forsberg also had below average puck possession games and you can really just chalk this up as an off night for both of them.
Furthermore, Josi was held off the scoresheet yet again, making it his fourth game where he’s been held without a point and is performing well behind his normal point pace that he’s displayed throughout his Predators career as the franchise’s all-time leader in points.
Your most effective skater and puck handler from this game goes to Thomas Novak, who tallied a primary assist to bring his season point total to five, which has him tied for the team lead with Forsberg.
Only four Predators skater were above average in terms of Corsi percentage in this game; Novak, Sherwood, Josi and Luke Evangelista. Everyone else was below average and had a hard time making any kind of offensive impact on the game.
Credit to the Canucks for playing a flawless defensive game. They just didn’t allow Nashville to easily break into their zone and create scoring chances. Nashville had just a 1.6 Expected Goals, which is just putrid for today’s NHL.
The Predators tried to make a hard push towards the end of regulation to get the equalizer, but it was too little too late.
And to close things out, it was a bad day at the office for Juuse Saros as well. The first goal of the game surrendered to the Canucks was a puck Saros usually has no trouble snagging with the glove, but it got past him on a goal from Ilya Mikheyev.
Saros finishes with a negative Goals Saved Above Expected at -1.14. A rare occasion for Saros to not finish in the positive and save an extra goal or two from burning Predators.
Maybe it’s time to get Kevin Lankinen his first start of 2023-24? Saros has started all seven games and has been up and down with a .910 save percentage and 2.58 GAA.
We’ll have to see if Philip Tomasino returns to the starting lineup after being a healthy scratch for three games in a row, while also awaiting the injured Cody Glass to return.
Quite frankly speaking, it’s kind of amazing that the Predators had a chance to knot this thing up at three with the Canucks in the final moments of regulation. They had no business winning this game with their overall team play, so it’s back to the drawing board with a few days off before hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.