Although we are only 34 games into the season, it may be time to start worrying about the current state of the Nashville Predators.
Nashville currently sits in sixth place in the Central, a division many experts picked them to win prior to the start of the season. So why are the Predators struggling? In short, the only answer is there is no answer.
Players will say the team needs to give a full 60-minute effort. Coach Peter Laviolette will point out the team needs to find consistency, and stop chasing the game.
“It starts when you start to put wins together by playing a certain style and with a certain identity,” Laviolette said. “So I think consistency inside of that will help lead to that.”
Tuesday night, the Predators lost 3-2 in overtime to the Minnesota Wild, a big division game they desperately needed to win. It was their sixth overtime/shootout loss this season; their only victory was a 2-1 shootout win against Philadelphia on Dec. 19.
“Last year we were struggling a lot,” forward Filip Forsberg said. “But we’ve been doing a lot of good things. We have a lot of chances; this game was kind of back-and-forth. Nealer had two good looks and almost scored there. They just go to the other way and score. That’s exciting for the fans and that’s the way the league wants it.”
Since the 3-on-3 overtime format began last season, the Predators have the worst overtime record in the league at 2-15. Their 15 overtime losses are the most in the NHL over the last two seasons – one ahead of Dallas and Carolina who are both tied for second-most with 14.
The players can’t explain it. The coaches don’t really know why. The Preds are a good puck-possession team in overtime; they see plenty of scoring chances. So what is it about the team’s strategy that gives them trouble in the overtime period?
“It’s not good enough,” Laviolette said.
The Preds have another division game Thursday night when the Chicago Blackhawks visit Bridgestone Arena. They way the standings currently sit, the sixth place Preds are two points out of the final wild card spot.
The bright spot out of all of this (if you’re into silver linings) is Nashville has earned points in four of their last five games. Let’s not forget, this team was in a similar situation last season.
It wasn’t until mid-January that they began to play up to their potential - even setting a franchise record 14-game point streak from Feb. 12- Mar. 9.
However, if the Preds are going to turn their season around they need to find their consistency - and it needs to start Thursday against Chicago.