Florida Panthers 2, Nashville Predators 1: Luongo stands tall, Preds' offense disappears again
The Nashville Predators turned out another strong performance, but yet again did not get rewarded for it.
It seems like just as things start going right for the Predators, something happens to bring them back down into their funk again.
In yet another game where Nashville outplayed its opponent, they found themselves stymied by a hot goaltender and unable to convert chances into goals. Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers withstood a 33-16 shot advantage to take two points away from the Preds.
- In the absence of Mike Fisher, Calle Jarnkrok got his turn centering the second line between Viktor Arvidsson and James Neal. How did he do? Pretty good. He skated 14:21 minutes, winning 67% of his faceoffs and didn't look out of place. Neal, Ironhook and Arvidsson were all positive possession players, posting +17, +13, and +5 in shot attempt differentials respectively.
- To that end, not a single Predator was under 50% CF. Filip Forsberg led the way, being on the ice for a whopping 34 attempts and just five (!) against. Eric Nystrom brought up the rear, posting a +1 (4 for, 3 against.)
- I'm not sure which dimension Pekka Rinne comes from, but he's finally harnessing the powers of the Netherealm. That save on Jaromir Jagr was something you'll tell your grandchildren about. How the puck didn't go into the net is anyone's guess.
- The Preds and Kitties saw the play go back and forth early in the game, but as has been the story of the year the Cats were able to get on the board first. Quinton Howden pounced on a chipped puck by The OC co-star Connor Brickley and didn't miss. The play unfolded in seconds, and before Rinne could see that Howden was snapping a shot, the puck was already in the back of the net. Not bad for a guy that assaults Nashville players with fish.
- Nashville has now allowed at least one power play goal in their last four games. Special teams started strong early on in the year, but have now fizzled to frustrating degrees. When goals are hard to come by, it doesn't help to
- Not the most exciting game, that's for sure. After Florida claimed their two-goal lead, they were content to try and clog up the Predators in the neutral zone, let them take a few shots if they could, then dump the puck back out to center.
- Eventually, shots catch up with a team. Craig Smith threw a shot at Roberto Luongo similar to what Brickley threw at Rinne. It ricocheted off Roman Josi's body and into the net. You talk about getting bodies to the crease, that's one way to do it.
- Refs miss calls all the time. In a game as fast as hockey it's going to happen. That call on James Neal may have been bogus, but in real time when you see a player with Neal's reputation go down like that, you probably assume the worst. It is what it is.
- Experiment time: Share in the comments the sound(s) you made when Seth Jones nearly tied the game in the waning minutes of the game. I assume it was something like "YEEAuuhhhwhaaayehgah!"
What's going on with the Predators schizophrenic scoring is a little unbelievable. Flip a coin and you'll have an idea which type of offense is going to be showing up in a given game. While it's certainly much better to dominate your opponents more often than not, there starts to be lots of question marks get thrown into the air when that routinely happens and the team still loses. I'd like to say that will even out over time (I believe it will) but I don't blame you for believing a little less each time it happens.
On the bright side, Nashville certainly tried harder to work the puck into the middle of the ice for prime scoring chances. Take a look at the shot attempt locations, via HockeyStats.ca:
Still tons of point shots, but way more looks in the slot and on top of the crease. Keeping that up will lead to good things. I mean, I'm guessing. Who knows at this point.
OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Roberto Luongo: 32 saves on 32 shots for a .970 Sv%. Not bad.
- Filip Forsberg: Was tempted to put Calle here, but Forsberg was on fire tonight. Didn't get rewarded (surprise) but certainly is did everything he could to add to that two goal performance.
- Jaromir Jagr: Dude is cool. How about the high stick on the Captain, where he apologized and you could tell Weber wanted to put his fist through his face?/
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