As far as the first six weeks go, this one was the worst for the Nashville Predators in terms of on-ice results.
The end of the CMA road trip was less-than-ideal, but at least there was one home game to look forward to after all that western nonsense.
Lots of home games to come in the next three weeks, but we gotta get through this recap first:
The Fast Money Round
Monday: Anaheim Ducks 2, Predators 1 (shootout)
It was a goaltender duel won by John Gibson, Josh Manson beat up Kevin Fiala and got beaten up by Zac Rinaldo for doing so, and shootouts are still a bad way to settle games. So much for going undefeated on the road.
Tuesday: San Jose Sharks 5, Predators 4
That first period was a casserole of nonsense. The second period was quite fun, and seeing Rocco Grimaldi give the Preds a lead in the third gave us short folks some hope. Then, in 13 seconds, all of that disappeared. So much for not losing in regulation on the road.
Thursday: Arizona Coyotes 2, Predators 1
The Coyotes don’t need five skaters to score goals. Nick Bonino finally found the net, and the road trip is finally, mercifully over.
Saturday: Predators 5, Los Angeles Kings 3
The Preds gave up two goals in 20 seconds or less for the second time this week, but Calle Jarnkrok didn’t care about that. Also, two (!) power play goals and Kevin Fiala was MIA for most of the night (more on that later).
Player of the Week
In a week full of not much, here comes Calle Järnkrok to blow the roof off of Bridgestone Arena. One even-strength goal, a power play tally and a shorty to help end the losing streak.
Favorite Thing of the Week
There was not live video of the actual singing, but this did happen after Saturday’s win...
Concern of the Week
Put the power play, injuries, whatever you like here.
But one for thought: Kevin Fiala’s deployment on Saturday sent a message that his performance isn’t acceptable and needs to change in a hurry. Decide for yourself what Peter Laviolette meant in his post-game presser:
“Sometimes it’s just the way the game’s going inside of the lines and the numbers. You know, we made a move and put Ryan Hartman up there and all of a sudden had a good shift, and another good shift. We went into the game with the thought of Calle and Kevin splitting power-play time. Kevin got the first one, and Calle ended up getting the second one, and good on him. We just stuck with it. It seemed to be working, so we made the switches.”
Aside from this, one has to wonder if that wicked shot he took in Anaheim had some effect on his play the rest of the week.
Taking the good with the bad from the previous week, in chronological order:
Minus: Ryan Kesler, on principle alone.
Plus: Zac Rinaldo destroying Josh Manson. Getting him off the ice for five minutes is a good tradeoff every time.
Plus: Kevin Fiala scoring after that big-time hit from Manson.
Minus: the shootout.
Minus: taking 11:25 to get a shot on goal.
Minus: Falling behind 3-0 in San Jose.
Plus: Tying the game 3-3 in San Jose.
Plus: Rocco Grimaldi’s speed and finish.
Minus: Joe Pavelski, then Joe Thornton, just like that. 13 seconds.
Minus: P.K. Subban leaving the game...and not returning.
Minus: Arizona scoring a shorthanded goal, because apparently that’s what they do.
Plus: The road trip is over.
Minus: The entire first period against Los Angeles. Only because nothing much happened.
Plus: A power-play goal!
Minus: Going from leading to trailing in 19 seconds.
Plus: Järnkrok with a damn snipe.
Minus: Whatever that was in front of Rinne on the tying goal.
Plus: Calle again...and another power-play goal!
Plus: Going for the hat trick and getting it.
Plus: Craig Smith on the first line — a line that did wonders, albeit against the worst team in the West:
Forsberg-Johansen-Smith as a line tonight at 5-on-5...— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) November 18, 2018
Shot-attempt differential: 25-8
Shot differential: 14-4
Scoring-chance differential: 8-3
High-danger attempt differential: 5-1
This week’s grade
What was a question of how long the Preds’ road winning streak would last turned into how long the losing streak would last. As it turned out, being back home was a good thing. Is the power play fixed? Can’t say that, but getting two goals on it Saturday is certainly better than what most of this week was. All in all, this wasn’t a good week, with a 1-2-1 mark, and P.K. Subban will miss at least one more game being on injured reserve. You have to learn from weeks like this, and these types of weeks can’t happen too often if you have dreams of a deep run. That said, as of this writing (late Saturday), they’re tied for first with the team they’ll face on Monday — the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Kings win gets the grade out of the D territory. This week’s grade: C-
Your turn: Put yourself in the shoes of Peter Laviolette — what do you do with Kevin Fiala?
Who’s your Player of the Week for Week 6?
This poll is closed
Other (write-in votes go in the comments)