In the course of an 82-game regular season, a few stinkers can be relied upon from every NHL team, and tonight was the Nashville Predators' turn. After having gotten away with a lackluster effort in Florida last night with an overtime win, they couldn't muster a more complete game this evening as the Los Angeles Kings came into the Bridgestone Arena and took a 2-0 decision.
Follow after the jump for reaction, and be sure to check the video widget on the right-hand sidebar for the highlights...
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Let's go with the bullet points...
- The 1st period was awful, as the Preds looked very much like a team that had played the night before and had nothing left in the tank. L.A. outshot Nashville 18-8.
- Pekka Rinne is the only reason the Preds had a chance tonight. His save on Ryan Smyth late in the first period should be on the "Top 10 Saves of the Week" list if there's any justice.
- Nashville came out in the second period and started getting more consistent pressure, but young Jonathan Bernier was solid in the Kings' net.
- Joel Ward looked pretty good in his return to action, using his size and strength well. Martin Erat, on the other hand, didn't impress much.
- The opening goal, from Scott Parse in the 3rd period, was a classic example of a guy cutting into the slot and catching the Predators napping on defense. He one-timed a pass right under the crossbar, so Rinne had no chance at all.
- Outside of setting up point shots from the defense, Nashville had trouble generating dangerous scoring chances. Too often, they opted to keep the puck on the perimeter and hope an opening to magically appear, rather than attack the Kings' defense.
- This is the 2nd consecutive game on home ice that the Preds have been shut out.
- As bitter as this loss might taste (especially with Detroit beating Edmonton with a late goal), the Preds still sit in 5th place. The important thing is to get the rest of the guys (Arnott & Grebeshkov) back healthy and playing well before the playoffs begin in two weeks.
No advanced stats tonight; I'm in the process of rebuilding my desktop PC, and haven't installed all my tools yet.