Nashville Predators Offense has Fizzled Out after Decisive Loss to Panthers

The home struggles continue for the Predators, and their offense has evaporated after a 4-1 loss to Panthers.

Jan 22, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Denis Gurianov (15) has a
Jan 22, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators right wing Denis Gurianov (15) has a / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The struggle is real for the offensively-deprived Nashville Predators right now after taking one on the chin in a 4-1 loss to the Florida Panthers on Monday.

The loss sends the Predators to three losses in their last four, and four-straight gameds of scoring two goals or less. Against the Panthers on Monday, the Predators stubbed their toe out of the gate and it was like pulling teeth to even enter the offensive zone.

The frustrating theme for the Predators is they can't get Juuse Saros and the offense to have strong games on the same night. On this occasion, Saros held down the fort as long as he could before the high octane Panthers offensive attack broke though over halfway through the second period.

Predators Offense has Evaporated as of Late, Forsberg Goal Drought

Saros would finish the night with 34 saves and a .944 save percentage, but he got basically no offensive support. Only 2.35 Expected goals for Nashville, while Florida really set themselves apart in the third period.

Even the lone Predators goal of the night wasn't what you would call flashy, with a lot of net front traffic allowing the puck to get by Florida goaltender Anthony Stolarz.

When you look at how the Predators managed 27 shots on goal but only 2.35 Expected Goals, it paints a picture that the quality of shots weren't spectacular and made for a relatively easy night for Stolarz to manage between the pipes.

It was actually a low event night for both teams in terms of high danger chances. The Predators had nine and the Panthers had 10.

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We're starting to see how badly the Predators struggle to manufacture offense when it's not coming from the top line. Filip Forsberg hasn't scored a goal in five-straight games. That's not a coincidence that the Predators look boring on offense during that same stretch.

Ryan O'Reilly has also been held in check on the offensive end over the last five games. He hasn't registered a point in four of his last five games.

Nothing illustrates the Predators' offensive woes more than their Goals Scored Above Expected. They are 25th in the NHL in capitalizing on their scoring chances, sitting in the negative at -12.57, per MoneyPuck.

Now luckily that's not a death sentence because the Panthers, who are second in the Eastern Conference, are the the worst team in Goals Scored Above Expected at -33.39. The Oilers are down there as well, so really good teams can perform badly in this area.

Evangelista and Young Guns have been Non-Factors on Offense

Gus Nyquist, Nashville Predators
Jan 22, 2024; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Anthony Stolarz (41) makes a / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It is paramount that if the Predators are going to stay in the wildcard race and not fade into irrelevancy in the next month, they have to get secondary scoring from Luke Evangelista, Tommy Novak, Juuso Parssinen and Philip Tomasino. These four players are the future and have immense offensive talent, but they're just not showing up right now.

Evangelista, Novak, Parssinen and Tomasino have 30 of the Predators' 142 goals scored this season, or about 21 percent of the scoring. You need a bigger chunk of the scoring coming from these four offensively gifted players.

In comparison, the trio running Nashville's top line led by O'Reilly have 35 percent of the goal this season. When they are held in check, which is going to happen and did happen against the Panthers, you need the other four to step up.

Now don't get this twisted; I'm not saying these four, and really Evangelista in particular, have been complete busts this season. I'm saying they have much more to give and are critical to the Predators' chances of making the playoffs.

The Panthers bullied the Predators off the puck all night. Evangelista in particular had trouble skating his way out of trouble to make things happen on the offensive end. Tomasino also was a non-factor with 12:24 of ice time and zero shots on goal.

These are the learning experiences you have to suffer through. The Predators have options to call up some players from Milwaukee to provide a spark, including Spencer Stastney for the defensive corps and Egor Afanasyev for the forwards.

I won't call games "must wins" in January, but you really need to go out and make a statement for the two points in your next game against a mediocre Minnesota Wild team who punked you the last time you faced off with them.

Next. Preds Saros Trade Rumors. More Clarity in Juuse Saros & Predators Trade Buzz. dark