Filip Forsberg scored his 24th goal of the season and Philip Tomasino got on the scoresheet as well with his 7th goal this season, but it wasn't enough for the Nashville Predators against the Los Angeles Kings in an important game for the wildcard race.
The Predators haven't eclipsed three goals in a game since their 6-3 win over the Dallas Stars on January 12th, a span of nine games. Over that span the Predators have gone 3-5-1.
In this game against the Kings the offense peppered David Rittich with plenty of shots on goal but failed to capitalize and complete the comeback attempt in the third period.
The Predators went 0-for-4 on the power play which ended up being the deciding factor in the final score. The Kings added an empty net goal to make it 4-2, but not being able to at least one power play goal on four opportunities is what ultimately sent the Predators to another loss.
David Rittich Sends Preds to All Star Break with Another Crushing Loss
Rittich finished with 40 saves and a 2.86 Goals Saved Above Expected, outdueling Juuse Saros who finished with a -1.60 Goals Saved Above Expected and a 87 percent save percentage.
The Predators have now fallen to 20th in the NHL in goals per game at 2.96, which isn't too much higher than the last year under John Hynes when the team averaged 2.72 goals per game.
So the top priority during the All Star break is going to be how does this team reverse course with their lackluster offense? Will it take shaking up the forward lines, and even shifting Nashville's top line that was unstoppable at one point?
The harsh and fair criticism of Juuse Saros isn't going to stop, either. He just hasn't been able to be the trustworthy neutralizer like he has been in the past. Without the offensive support, Saros has been average at best in those games.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Predators come out of the All Star break with a very different looking starting lineup. Even though the trade deadline is still over a month away, General Manager Barry Trotz has to be on the phones right now looking for trade partners to unload some 2024 free agents and free up roster space for some call-ups from the Milwaukee Admirals.
At this time last year entering the All Star break the Predators were in a very similar position in the standings with a 24-18-6 record with 54 points, which is how many points they have now. We all know what happened shortly after that with the big sell-off at the trade deadline. I think we're in store for more selling in the coming weeks.
Trotz should have all the answers he needs on what to do as the trade deadline approaches. Sell, sell, sell. Almost everyone on this roster should be available to be traded, including Saros. If you stay in the playoff race after the trade deadline, then that will just be bonus. But it's painfully obvious that this team still has a lot of growing to do.