Predators Waste Another Late Lead in Loss to Red Wings: Four Takeaways

After surrendering another lead, the Predators took their third-straight loss with an overtime defeat to the Red Wings on Friday.
Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings
Nashville Predators v Detroit Red Wings / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

There is no way around it for the Nashville Predators right now; they can't hold leads and they can't sustain 60-minute efforts, which is why they've lost three-straight games.

The Predators stormed back to take a 3-2 lead over the Red Wings on Friday after Filip Forsberg scored his second goal of the game on a pass from Tommy Novak from behind the net. It looked like the Predators had seized control of the momentum and were in the driver's seat.

Near the midway point of the third period, the Red Wings finally broke through to tie it at 3-3, only to quickly score again and retake the lead. The Predators are all too familiar with giving up goals in waves.

The loss drops the Predators to 19-16-1 and fifth place in the Central Division. It's their first overtime loss of the season, and forJuuse Saros, he's back on the losing skid after putting together a month of nearly being perfect in winning his starts.

Juuse Saros Makes Save of the Year, But Struggles Badly Overall

Saros did make arguably the NHL's save of the year with a superman like dive across the net, robbing Patrick Kane of an open net and almost certain goal. It defies logic how Saros managed to stop this.

Heroic saves like this shouldn't shock you coming from Saros. We also know how streaky Saros can be, and for every insane save he makes, he's due for giving up one he should probably stop with ease.

It's another game of Saros finish in the negative on his Goals Saved Above Expected. The Red Wings didn't pile up the shots, especially early on, but still managed to score twice in the first period.

Saros' GSA of -1.62 goals expected tells the story. Unlike the past, Saros has not been able to carry the Predators to victory with top notch goaltending as of late. The Predators gave Saros four goals of support, but it still wasn't enough.

On the other side, a much less accomplished goaltender in Alex Lyon outplayed Saros facing a much higher quality of shots and more volume.

In three of Saros' last five starts he has finished below an 80 save percentage. It doesn't take an expert of the game to realize that the Predators will continue losing a majority of their games if Saros stays in this personal slump.

Preds Can't Hold Leads, Can't Put Opponents Away when They're Down

It's gotten to the point that I just don't trust the Predators when they're playing with a lead. If anything, I trust them more when they're playing from behind to get desperate and find a way to score.

The epic collapse to Dallas right before the Christmas break has snowballed. The Predators had the 3-2 lead well into the third period and just needed to play sound defensive hockey for 10 more minutes.

The tying goal from Alex DeBrincat on the odd man rush wasn't really on Saros. The Predators got beat up the ice in transition, falling asleep at the wheel and rest on their slim one-goal lead. Just cannot happen.

The breakdown in this play defensively is three Predators player chasing the puck carrier, and leaving DeBrincat all alone on the other side for the one-timer. That's not on Saros one bit.

The whole breakdown starts with Jeremy Lauzon getting beat for the loose puck in the neutral zone, and then Alexandre Carrier being baited to take the puck carrier and leaving DeBrincat skating freely.

These things happen, but for the Predators to quickly give back the lead to the Red Wings just two minutes later is crushing. Another defensive sequence of scrambling and puck chasing. A lot of puck watching Colton Sissons, Dante Fabbro and Yakov Trenin.

Again, Saros was kind of left out for the wolves on this play. He's trying to track the puck, but you can't leave guys wide open on the opposite side of the play. The Red Wings exposed some swiss cheese defensive structure on the two third period goals.

Gus Nyquist has been Major Surprise for Predators

Nyquist did everything he could to take over this game and push the Predators back to the win column. He was all over the ice, pushing the pace, and had that look of intensity on the bench. He was locked in.

Nyquist and Forsberg were feeding off each other throughout. Nyquist's first goal to tie the game at 2-2 was a shorthanded variety and it was really a one-man show.

Brilliantly anticipating the play on the penalty kill, Nyquist was able to steal the puck, push it up ice and wait out Lyon in the crease to find the perfect shot to get the goal.

Nyquist's second goal of the game tied the game back at 4-4 to at least preserve a point in overtime. This was more of a team effort goal, with Ryan O'Reilly having a strong forecehck, Luke Schenn feeding the puck into traffic, and Nyquist finding the loose puck to score.

The offseason signing of Nyquist didn't steal a lot of headlines, but he has been pretty darn good for the Predators on the top line with Forsberg and O'Reilly. He's up to 26 points in 36 games, which is fourth on the team.

The Youngsters Need to Step Up More

I know it's off limits to ever criticize the youth, and it's way easier to come after the high paid veteran when things aren't going right. However, we're just not seeing enough from the young talent on this team right now.

Luke Evangelista has really cooled off lately, with only two points in his last 11 games. Juuso Parssinen is really counted on to produce offense, and he has been held off the scoresheet in eight of his last nine games.

Cody Glass has been a major letdown for the Predators. Injuries aside, the top-six center hopeful just can't break out of his rut, and it puts the Predators in a dilemma with their lineup. They've tried moving him to wing. How much longer can they be patient before they try calling someone else up to provide a spark?

Philip Tomasino has gone through his peaks and valleys this year. He's been buried on the fourth line lately, and it might be time for Andrew Brunette to give Tomasino a spike in minutes. He has finished below 14 minutes of ice time in each of his last three games.

He's not really "young" anymore, but Yakov Trenin also has been close to invisible out there with the exception of the occasional big hit. He has looked slow and many times chasing the play. I have my doubts that he stays with the Predators past this year. He's a UFA this offseason.

This team's glaring issue isn't offensive output right now. It's team defense and goaltending. Those two go hand in hand and neither is helping the other cover up for its mistakes.