Given a chance to rebound from a loss to the Blues where they should've won, the Nashville Predators failed to show up this afternoon in Minnesota. Steve Sullivan and Martin Erat scored the Predators' first power play goals since November 13, but everything that could go wrong did for a team that is quickly descending to the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
After the jump, more reaction to this disappointing loss, and video highlights if you're the type to be interested in self-torture.
Ten thoughts on
tonight's this afternoon's game:
- Shea Weber and Colin Wilson both rang shots loudly off the post, so...there's that.
- Martin Havlat was a holy terror throughout the afternoon, and Nashville had no answer. He beat Francis Bouillon like a rented mule on his first period and third period markers, and would continue to dance around any defender he came across for the rest of the game. Anders Lindback was the only thing that kept Havlat from having the hat trick.
- It's becoming an alarming trend, but Nashville has been getting beaten along the boards, beaten to loose pucks, and beaten up and down the ice over the last few losses. The Predators pride themselves on the exact opposite of that, so when they deviate from it for extended periods, you have to know that they'll be less successful.
- On Andrew Brunette's goal, I'm not really sure what Shea Weber was doing, but it wasn't playing defense. He was standing right there next to the goal cage along with Brunette, and failed to move him out of the crease as the former Pred was allowed multiple whacks at the puck. As the team's captain and best player, he must do better.
- While Sullivan and Erat did score on the power play, an extended third period two man advantage resulted in nothing. The puck movement was there, and the Preds were able to set up in the zone, but the finishing ability on this team right now is completely nonexistent.
- Jordin Tootoo was getting pushed around all night for dishing out hard, clean hits, and finally had to answer for it against Clayton Stoner in the 3rd period. Stoner, though, got entirely more than he bargained for as Tootoo's final punch was an absolute haymaker. Clayton Stoner, in case you were interested, is 6 foot 3 inches tall. Tootoo? 5'9.
Sergei Kostitsyn played 9:03 and finished -3. With Jamie Lundmark and Steve Begin waiting in Milwaukee and boasting extensive NHL experience, I wonder if Kostitsyn may be taking a few days off soon to reevaluate things.
- The Predators were able to counteract Minnesota's elite power play with some great chances shorthanded, keyed largely by Martin Erat, who I thought had his best game of the season.
- Nashville outshot the Wild 34-23, but the problem, again, is the quantity of shots from the perimeter relative to the number from the faceoff circles forward. Patric Hornqvist is struggling to score right now, and that can largely be attributed to the lack of chances from in close.
- Kevin Klein was scratched before the game with what was termed "an illness". Alexander Sulzer skated 18:04 in his absence.
- In summary, there were certainly things to build on tonight. The power play improved, and Anders Lindback played well in relief of Rinne. That's not really what the Predators should focus on, though, because they failed to play basic hockey. Minnesota did an excellent job of winning the small battles, and it simply translated to the scoreboard. The team needs a short memory tonight as the Rangers await them in Nashville tomorrow night.