Despite earning a point, the Nashville Predators saw both their 3 game winning streak and consecutive penalties killed streak go by the wayside tonight in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers. The even strength offense has certainly looked better, but there are a number of defensive errors that are cause for concern and with Pekka Rinne out, the team simply can't afford those mistakes.
Colin Wilson and Steve Sullivan scored for Nashville, while Jim Slater, Andrew Ladd, and Zach Bogosian got the tallies for Atlanta. Follow after the jump for video highlights, reaction, and advanced stats.
First, the video (may have to until an hour or so post-game):
Ten thoughts on tonight's game:
- For all the talk about the key matchup in tonight's game being between the Thrashers NHL-leading power play and the Predators' stellar penalty kill, most of the damage was done at even strength. The team seems to be jelling offensively, and its showing on the scoreboard as both Colin Wilson and Steve Sullivan scored on gorgeous feeds from Sergei Kostitsyn and Wilson, respectively.
- When the Predators went on the power play late in the 1st period, Shea Weber was high sticked by Andrew Ladd, and exited the ice bleeding badly. He did not return until during the 2nd period, and according to Tennessean beat writer Josh Cooper, received stitches to his lip.
- Anders Lindback can't be faulted on Atlanta's second period marker - Jim Slater cleanly beat Jerred Smithson on the faceoff, and Tobias Enstrom sent a rocket towards the net which Slater deflected beautifully into the net. Lindback had no chance.
Since he's very often the target of our ire, I think it's only fair to give Kevin Klein his due. Not only did his assist tonight give him a three game point streak, his defensive play has been much improved since he sat out the game against Minnesota with an "illness", and it was good to see him stick up for Anders Lindback after Evander Kane ran into him after the whistle.Needless to say, I had this bullet written up before the game ended. Moving on, then...
- Faceoff circle failures really hurt Nashville tonight, particularly on Andrew Ladd's 3rd period power play goal. Rich Peverley won the draw easily, which allowed Dustin Byfuglien to get an unmolested shot on goal. Lindback allowed a big rebound, and Ladd easily put it in the net. Win that draw, and there's a good chance the Preds kill off the rest of the penalty.
It's going to be popular to pin this loss on Kevin Klein, and I'm not going to stop you from doing so, because his perfect storm of mistakes on Bogosian's goal was almost awe-inspiring. However, there is no excuse for the Predators to allow Atlanta back in the game after leading 2-0 in the second period. As much as the team has come together at one end of the rink, its gotten away from "Predators hockey" at the other, and at the end of the day that's not a trade I'm willing to make.
- Directly related to that, Nashville was outshot 37-29 tonight. The Predators can't play like that with Pekka Rinne in goal, much less Anders Lindback. Lindback, to his credit, played well enough to win, but the team in front of him failed to come through. Again.
- I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Thrashers goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who at times seemed impenetrable. Two times he robbed Nashville - once, stopping Nick Spaling from scoring his first career NHL goal when he brought his glove all the way across his body to close an open net; twice, when he slid across to deny Joel Ward what looked to be a sure shorthanded marker.
- If anyone can explain to me what Kevin Klein was trying to do on the game's final goal, I'd appreciate it. He dropped his stick in the middle of the ice, causing him to lose his man. The puck squirted over to the boards, where Klein tried to kick it soccer-style down the ice. The problem? He missed. Completely. Ben Eager sent a pass to Bogosian, and that was that.
It may be hard to keep your chin up after this one, but Nashville has earned 8 out of a possible 10 points in their last five games, and head now to Detroit to take on the Red Wings. The team isn't mired in a slump, but another effort such as tonight's will result in embarrassment at Joe Louis Arena.
|Even Strength||Individual Totals||Team Totals While Player Is On Ice|
|Player||Pos||EV TOI||Shots||Shts Blkd||Missed Shts||Blocks||SOG For||SOG Ag||SOG +/-||Tot SF||Tot SA||Corsi|