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Nashville Predators 0, San Jose Sharks 2: Another loss comes all too quickly for the Preds

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Hello darkness my old friend...

Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

After a less than convincing win in Arizona (but a win nonetheless) the Predators took to the Shark Tank to start a new streak. This one of the winning variety. With the monkey off their back and a few days of rest in their back pocket, Nashville could feast on a San Jose team with a less than stellar home record, and on the verge of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

They way the Predators played, it looked like they had righted the ship from whatever has been ailing them. They skated circles around the Sharks, piling up the shots and overwhelming them for most of the game. Alas, penalties and squandered opportunities doomed them, and the Preds finished the game without denting the net even once. Nashville loses, and falls out of first place in the division for the first time in months. (Blues also have 91 points, but have less games played.)

Random Observations

  • Nashville started a little sluggish out of the gate, and had to kill off a couple of penalties early. However, once the period started winding down, the Preds cranked up the pressure and owned the flow of the game until the final whistle.
  • Pekka Rinne lost a few extra lives in the first frame. Tim Peel (of course) waved off a possible goal when Tomas Hertl plowed through the crease (with maybe a little help from Mike Santorelli) and ended up in the back of the net with the puck. His team then had to kill a penalty after Rinne played the puck in the restricted zone, alone with a few bounces that seemed like they were inches away from going in. Overall, a weird period.
  • Give Gabriel Bourque mountains of credit for the way he PKed on Rinne's penalty.
  • But oh boy did that parade to the penalty box continue into the second period. Most of those calls were pretty ticky-tacky, but they were also all penalties. It was just made even more glaring that all the calls were favoring the Sharks, causing more frustration in Predators land.
  • All that aside, the Predators dominated the second period. San Jose didn't record their 10th shot on goal until well after the halfway mark of regulation. Until...
  • Tomas Hertl tied the game on the fourth power play opportunity of the night. A most unpleasant turn of events, especially considering how Nashville had the game well in their control. The Sharks found their legs after that (something something blood in the water) and pushed back until the horn sounded for the second intermission.
  • So through two periods, Cody Franson had a tick over 7 minutes worth of ice time. He ended with below 10 for the game, while Shea Weber and Roman Josi logged over 26. This isn't something new, as Peter Laviolette has been "managing" (to put it politely) Franson's minutes for several games. It's a curious decision, especially if Lavy just doesn't like his play. It hasn't seemed like he's been doing that poorly, but there's something up here.
  • Craig Smith, Colin Wilson and Mike Fisher were pretty good. None of them saw double digit shot attempts against, and were all above 20 shot attempts for. Both Wilson and Fisher had plenty of grade A scoring chances (especially in the third period) but could not find a way to tickle the twine. It was that kind of game.
  • When the Predators finally got their first power play, they started off great, squandered most of it, then finished really strong. Meh...
  • Whoever is coating Seth's stick with Flubber before every game, stop it. You stop it right now.
  • Hey look, another questionable penalty from Tim Peel. This one sinks the Preds chances, as the time ticks down in the period, and Rinne is pulled before Nashville gets its man out of the box. Empty net goal to seal the deal.
  • I'm really tired.

That sucks. Nashville did everything they needed to do to win that game, but a combination of penalties and Antti Niemi's apparent forcefield stopped them cold in their tracks. The bright side is the Preds got back to dictating the pace of the game. The bad news is we said the same thing after the Islanders game, and it puts them right back into the loss column. Not to mention bumps them down to second in the conference.

Dominating play (or the shot counter) doesn't amount to a hill of beans if you can't make the opportunities count. I don't have any answers for what's going on. I'm sure you don't either. 13 games left...

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • My coffee maker.
  • The breeze coming into my living room through my wide open sliding door.
  • Um... erm.... guys?

Tweet of the Game

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