The Nashville Predators fell to the Dallas Stars this afternoon, giving up a lead and two third period goals in a 3-2 loss. There are some who would say that the team gave a good effort, but I disagree. The simple fact is that right now, the Nashville Predators are not a good hockey team, and it shows. Furthermore, there are very few moves on the trade market that can fix what's wrong here. It's up to the players already inside the locker room to turn the runaway train around.
Ten thoughts on today's game:
- We've been effusive in our praise of Jonathon Blum through two games, so it's only fair that he gets criticized for an ill-timed pinch in the offensive zone that led to Dallas' first goal. Of course, had Mike Fisher found Blum with the pass, Nashville would've been up 1-0, but when your partner is Cody Franson and a Star has just exited the penalty box, pinching that far down is not the greatest of ideas.
- The debut of Blake Geoffrion was highly anticipated, but in the end, there wasn't much to it. The Tennessee native skated just 9 shifts amounting to 5:14, and lost all three faceoffs taken.
- 5 minutes into the second period, Ryan Suter broke the scoring drought by driving the net and knocking in his own rebound. The goal ended a drought that extended for 145:50, or well over two full games.
- In a shocking development, the Preds were able to score a second goal in the period, when Cody Franson put a quick shot on net from just inside the line. Colin Wilson scored on the rebound, and it was good to see him break out of a slump by putting forth so much effort to get to the puck.
- I keep expecting Pekka Rinne to regress to a more human level, but it hasn't happened, and especially not today. His late 2nd period save on Jamie Langenbrunner was the stuff of the gods, and I can't blame him too much for Alex Goligoski's third period knuckleball.
- How much easier would life be for the Predators if they had an even halfway effective power play?
- There were a lot of detractors that came with Dallas' trade for defenseman Alex Goligoski, but for one afternoon, I won't count myself as one of them. Goligoski ran the Stars' show with aplomb, and finished the game with two points.
- Shea Weber has been able to largely eliminate the bad penalty aspect from his game over the past few years, but that particular feature reared it's ugly head in the third period when Weber roughly boarded Tomas Vincour. It was a dangerous play, and one where I wouldn't have had a problem with Weber getting a major penalty. Either way, the power play ended with Loui Eriksson's game winning goal.
- Dallas and Nashville don't cross paths often, but the atmosphere surrounding the game certainly made it seem otherwise. Between Adam Burish and Steve Ott, the Stars have the dirty and annoying player quotient more than filled.
- The Predators can't keep their opponents off the board right now. They can't hold a lead, they can't score on the power play, and they can't score enough, period. What can they do? Who knows, but tomorrow afternoon's game against Columbus could well determine whether or not David Poile moves his status from "buy" to "sell".
With the loss, the Predators have dropped four games in a row, and are falling further out of the playoff pack with a Western Canada road trip around the corner. It's discouraging on multiple levels - the team has the capability to be very much an above average squad, and there were such high hopes for postseason success. All the hopes and dreams matter little, because "playing well enough to win" just isn't good enough anymore.