The Nashville Predators, fresh off a Kevin Fiala double overtime game winning goal, had the chance to take the wind out from under the Winnipeg Jets’ wings Tuesday night. After building a commanding 3-0 lead in the first period, it looked like it would be the case. It was not meant to be, as two old problems that have haunted this iteration of the Nashville Predators came back to haunt them, namely a lack of discipline and lack of a killer instinct. The Jets scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-3 lead and eventually won by a score of 7-4.
Mike Fisher, P.K. Subban, and Austin Watson all scored in the first period. However, the game was all Jets from there.
Paul Stastny opened the Jets’ goal account after a video review clearly showing that he had a good goal. However, the Predators did not like the call and, instead of responding with “we’ll get that one back,” it looked more like “woe is us.” Emotionally the Predators looked shattered, giving up three more goals that period and showing zero signs of life.
The Predators then had a man in the penalty box for half of the third period, taking five minor penalties. Well, almost half the period - the Jets capitalized on a P.K. Subban high-sticking penalty with five minutes to go in the third period. Every one of those penalties was a clear. obvious penalty that the Predators should have avoided.
Mental mistake after mental mistake occurred. Kevin Fiala took a blatant tripping penalty. Subban clearly high-sticked Blake Wheeler. After a puck dislodged a strap on Pekka Rinne’s mask, he tried yelling at a referee to get his attention, never mind how loud the MTS Center was last night. Instead of shaking his helmet off and stopping play, he kept going and allowed the Jets to capitalize on that game-winning power play goal with Subban in the box. Then, after a hook, Rinne slashed a Jet and the Predators went back on the penalty kill.
This all happened in the last eight minutes of the game. How a team can play like that and expect to win hockey games is beyond reason.
Although things got testy and the Jets may have gotten away with a few penalties, good teams simply do not blow 3-0 leads the way the Predators did. They have no one to blame but themselves. Their killer instinct is missing. From the infamous third-period turtling resurfacing to mentally collapsing after a goal review, the Predators need to check themselves in a mirror.
There are no excuses in the playoffs, and there is no feeling sorry for yourself. The Predators lost this game, not the officials, and the Predators lost this in one of the worst ways a hockey team can lose a game.