Missed Opportunities Plaguing Nashville Predators in Final Days of Season

Finishing on scoring chances has been a reoccurring problem all season for the Predators, and has reared it's ugly face again during the three-game skid.
Apr 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) tries to
Apr 2, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) tries to / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The 18-game point streak already is starting to be an afterthought with the Nashville Predators now on a three-game skid after their latest shutout loss to the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins put together a masterful defensive performance to frustrate the Predators, leaving the St. Louis Blues just six points behind with a matchup between the two division rivals on Thursday.

The Predators had an incredibly difficult time penetrating the Boston zone and establishing sustained offensive pressure. When they did get the rare scoring chances, they either missed the net, missed on a pass or Linus Ullmark stepped up to make the save.

An Old School Goalie Battle & Defensive Struggle

Ullmark stymied the Predators with a 2.69 Goals Saved Above Expected, the x-factor in a defensive struggle up until the ladder part of the third period.

To the credit of the Predators, they also played a really strong defensive game up until surrendering the shorthanded goal in the third period with under seven minutes left in regulation. You just felt the air leave the building, and the Bruins fans who always travel well took over Bridgestone Arena.

The one play that you can't get out of your mind in this game isn't the shorthanded goal by Charlie Coyle, but the post dinger by Roman Josi late in the second period on a wide open net. Ullmark was completely down for the count to stop that puck, but Josi only found the post.

It happens to the best of them and Josi has been playing on a Norris Trophy level for the past few months, but this one really hurts in a game where offense was at a premium. The Predators power play would finish 0-for-4 and besides the Josi open net miss, the power play was relegated to non-existent while surrendering a shorthanded goal.

Josi had nine shot attempts but only three shots on goal to show for it. Filip Forsberg also had nine shot attempts, but managed just five of them to get on goal. The Bruins also blocked 20 shots.

Preds Could Never Get Much Offensive Momentum Going

The Bruins also did a great job at disrupting the Predators' rhythm on the rush, forcing out of sync passing and overthinking. There were many times when the Predators skaters either tried to make one too many passes or just weren't on the same page with each other when breaking out.

There were also a few instances where the Predators were just a half second off from breaking through and beating Ullmark. One example of this was Ryan O'Reilly getting loose and Luke Evangelista finding him for chance to beat Ullmark, but a tied up stick prevented O'Reilly from getting a good shot off.


This was the overall prevailing theme of the night; the Predators just couldn't get anything to bounce their way on deflection attempts, and when they did have better scoring chances, they just didn't execute well enough to beat the 2023 Vezina Trophy winning Ullmark.

Despite the loss, it was a solid bounce back game for Juuse Saros making 29 saves on 31 shots and at least keeping the Predators in the game all the way until the end. It's these types of quality starts that can steal a playoff series against the right opponent.

Saros has 33 quality starts on the year, which is significantly lower than his career average. He's had a rollercoaster type of year, but we are fully aware that he is still one of the best at his position and can get hot at the right time for a playoff run.

As concerning as this sudden losing streak is, the Predators remain in a strong spot to control their own destiny and take care of business. They've let victory slip away in the last two of the three losses by not finishing plays. They were up 4-2 on the Colorado Avalanche before falling apart on the penalty kill, and were a couple bounces away from scoring first against Boston and at least getting it to overtime.

The Predators has seven games remaining on the 2023-24 regular season slate. With a six-point cushion over the Blues, and regulation win against them on Thursday will really put the Predators back in prime position. If they lose, suddenly the Blues are in striking distance.

So in basic terms, the Predators have to treat Thursday like a play-in game of sorts for the playoffs. They can't let this losing streak linger any further.