The Nashville Predators had no time to sulk about their disappointing shootout loss last night to the Ottawa Senators. Just 24 hours later they had the Minnesota Wild storming the gates of Bridgestone Arena for a Central division showdown. If Nashville had any hopes of making up ground in either the division or Wild (heh) Card race, they needed beat Minnesota in regulation.
That didn't happen.
The Wild took advantage of a ton of defensive miscues and goalie Darcy Kuemper didn't have to work too hard to get his shiny W. Danny Heatley and Charlie Coyle each had a multiple point game and Kuemper made 23 saves to pick up his first NHL shutout.
- Viktor Stalberg had a marvelous pass that could have set up a gorgeous goal and put the Preds up 1-0. Instead, the recipient of his pass, Rich Clune, spectacularly wiffed. Stalberg saw himself in the proverbial doghouse today, and after his giveaway that led to the Heatley goal, he's likely to stay there.
- The last time Marek Mazanec started his second game in as many nights was Nov. 28 against Edmonton. He stopped 27 of 25 shots, but the team in front of him score him any goals. Rinse and repeat, as the Predators again got shut out when he started both games in a back-to-back. He wasn't as sharp this time around though, only posting .826 save percentage.
- I was saying Boo-uter.
- The Predators need to shoot the puck more. Here's your shot break down by period: 5 in the 1st, 9 in the 2nd and 9 in the 3rd. A grand total of 23, which isn't good enough. Shots eventually turn into goals. The more of those you have, the better your chances of winning are. So not having very many directly correlates to not scoring. I'll be waiting by the mail for my acceptance letter to Mensa.
- Defense has usually been the bread and butter of the Predators in years past. I have no idea where it was on the Matt Cooke goal. David Legwand was lost behind the net, Mattias Ekholm was standing still and Cooke was allowed to eat a steak dinner and have dessert in the slot. There wasn't much Mazanec could have done even if he were in position, but how lackadaisical he was getting back to the crease was a little infuriating.
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