Somewhere, there exists a dimension, alternate reality or parallel universe where the Nashville Predators capitalize on the chances they create.
Alas, we aren't in any of those, and the team from Music City dropped their fourth game in a row. Andrew Shaw scored a pair with a mix of net crashing and an adventurous Rinne. (The adventure was not fun.) Brent Seabrook added an insurance marker to make it 3-0 at one point, but Mike Ribeiro at least got the Preds on the board, and Filip Forsberg made things faux interesting with 30 seconds left.
If losing to the Chicago Blackhawks weren't enough, Nashville has only won four of its last 14 games against the Central, with the next four games coming within the division. If this is going to be the season long slump, so be it. Get it over with now. But Nashville has not looked like a good hockey team lately, they are losing their grasp in the standings, and time is running short.
- Eric Nystrom was a healthy scratch . We did it, everyone.
- On the defensive side of the ice, Petter Granberg was benched in favor of Anthony Bitetto. While many of us would have probably preferred the former to suit up, both are probably going to be rotating through the lineup for a few more games until Peter Laviolette gets a grasp on what he has.
- There were a few showings of special teams on either side, but the teams seemed to spend most of the first frame getting a feel for each other. The flow of game teetered back and forth around the penalties. Total shot attempts were 19-14 in favor of Chicago.
- Just when it looked like both teams would enter the locker rooms scoreless, Andrew Shaw cued The Fratellis to spew their obnoxious ear poison through the United Center speakers. 37-year-old birthday boy Marian Hossa brought Pekka Rinne way out of position by shooting, gathering his own rebound and speeding around the net. With an almost wide-open net and all six (!) Predators on the ice scrambling to get the puck on the top of the crease, Shaw pounced on the loose puck and tapped it home. Great initial pass by Jonathan Toews to start the zone entry, terrible showing of defense and goaltending to end the play.
- And the comedy of errors continues... Ryan Johansen decided to hold onto the puck in the neutral zone, presumably to wait for his line mates to change/set up? I really don't know. Hossa may not have known either, but he didn't care and introduced Joey to the ice while stripping the puck away. The story from there was the same as it was for the first goal, but somehow more embarrassing: Rinne scrambles out of position, the Hawks crash the net, the Predators defensemen don't clear them out and Andrew Shaw scores.
- I hope you waited to throw your TV/tablet/computer out the window following Brent Seabrook giving Chicago a 3-0 lead, because Mike Ribeiro immediately restored the two-goal deficit. That's some total net crashing right there, and Ribs was camped on the crease before he chased the puck into the corner before the score. For the record, I didn't think Artemi Panarin helped Ryan Ellis fall down when he was turning around the cage. Looked like Ellis mostly caught an edge.
- Nashville took 20 shots in the 2nd. Not attempts, actually shots on net. Thing is, the shot locations for this game actually didn't look too bad for the Predators after 40 minutes. Plenty of blue dots right in the crease and in the slot. There just haven't been many second chances or, as we've harped on in the Predcast, getting Crawford to move side to side. Getting to the tough areas is good, but they also need to make Crawford's life a nightmare.
- Both Mike Fisher and Ryan Ellis knocked Teuvo Teravainen into orbit at separate parts of the game. So... there's that.
Silver lining? Nashville killed all of their penalties today. Turd in the punch bowl that is that silver lining? The power play looked dreadful for the most part. There was one set where they had plenty of chances, but overall they were not threatening. For those of you keeping score, that's one extra man tally in the last seven games.
- Before the pixels in that last bullet were cool, Filip Fosberg batted in a nifty goal to bring the Preds within one. It counted as a power play goal, so at least that one-in-seven bit isn't a thing anymore.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
Other than Capitals tickets, this Ghostbusters LEGO set was my favorite Christmas present. I have it on my desk right now, and it was much more enjoyable to look at than this game. Therefore, it owns all three stars tonight.
Tweets of the Game
heading into tonight, the Preds are 4-2-1 all-time on State of the Union Night.— J.R. Lind (@jrlind) January 13, 2016
Roll the video highlights...