Breaking through on the power play
It's nice when special teams are a cause for praise and not one of concern, as Nashville has plenty of those to be worrying about already.
Against the top penalty kill unit in the NHL, the Predators sent a Roman Josi bomb past Blues goaltender Jake Allen during the first period for a crucial 1-0 lead. A lead they would ultimately relinquish in the third period.
The power play unit has had plenty of good looks in three of its last four games, however haven't found the back of the net. What's promising, though, is that Nashville's man-advantage ranks inside the top ten across the league and converting nearly 30 percent of its attempts.
When you have players like Josi and Shea Weber quarterbacking them to success, there should be no question as to how well the power play could be with even a little bit more consistency.
Now, if they could just eliminate the Ryan Ellis and Seth Jones pairing during opportunities and find some forwards who would like to gently tap the puck into its home on a normal basis.
Playing fairly even hockey against St. Louis
There hasn't been much of Nashville finding a true middle ground with its game as of late. They've either failed to play all 60 minutes -- such was the case against the Blues on Thursday -- and lost or dominated an opponent and, well, lost. One thing that was very refreshing to see against the Blues was a game, at least for the first two periods, played in a very neutral push.
Both Nashville and St. Louis traded chances, shots, hits and saves, finishing rather close to each other in the grand total of each.
While the result was of course not the one that Nashville was hoping for, it was something that's been missing from the way the Predators have been playing -- actually working with an opponent.
Much like the preceding contest between the two, St. Louis has brought out the best in Nashville this season. If only they could channel the same type of emotion against the rest of the league or, better yet, for an entire 60 minutes.
Second verse, same as the first
I'm tired of writing it; you're tired of reading it. The fact of the matter, though, is Nashville can't do a whole lot right at this point.
For the 11th time in the last 15 games, the Predators have fell on the wrong side of the final score. Not only that, but they've failed to record more than two goals in 10 of those 11 losses -- the only exception remains their 5-4 overtime loss to the Detroit Red Wings on December 5th.
What's mind-numbing about this entire ordeal is that for the majority of the these games, Nashville has played fairly well.
Bounces aren't going their way and, frankly, Pekka Rinne hasn't been the elite-level goaltender that Nashville has been used to. In fact, I don't truly believe that Rinne has been the same since coming back from his injury last season.
Either way, until David Poile ships one of his blue-chip defenders out for some real offensive talent, I wouldn't expect things to get much better.
Nashville has been linked to the on-going Ryan Johansen drama in Columbus, so perhaps that is something.
Vladimir Tarasenko, St. Louis Blues -- This guy really does it all. His 20th goal of the season was the game winner against the Predators and he beat Rinne clean on the shot.
David Backes, St. Louis Blues -- With a bit of a flukey bounce for his goal, Backes' tally equalized the game at one during the third period before Tarasenko lifted St. Louis to the win.
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators -- He's part of a handful of true bright spots on the roster right now. Opposing players are having difficulty really stopping Josi, and rightfully so. He continues to be on top of the league's top defensive players this season.