Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Preds offense stalls, fall in OT to San Jose, 2-1

Consistency for the Nashville Predator's offense has been lacking all season long, and it reared its ugly head again tonight, as they only managed one goal and eventually fell in overtime (again) to the San Jose Sharks by a 2-1 score. Pekka Rinne stopped 48 of 50 shots faced, but with no offensive support, his stellar effort went to waste.

1st Period
  • Let the speculation begin. JP Dumont was a healthy scratch, as the returns of Marcel Goc and Marek Svatos, in conjuction with Matt Halischuk’s demotion to Milwaukee, made JP the odd man out. It will be interesting to see how this ends up panning out. Will David Poile keep JP as a security blanket in case there is another injury, or is Poile currently looking to move him, despite his no-trade clause? That’s an expensive healthy scratch if Trotz chooses to continue down this path.
  •  Right off the bat, Nashville took San Jose’s gameplan of dominating the first ten minutes and shoved it right back in their face. San Jose couldn’t get anything going offensively, and at one point, Nashville led the shot count 8-1.
  •  Nashville got on the board first at 6:48 on the powerplay, as Cody Franson received a cross-ice pass from Steve Sullivan, skated in, and wristed a shot past Antti Niemi, with Patric Hornqvist parked it front of the Sharks goaltender.
 2nd Period
  • Devin Setoguchi tied the game at 9:16, as he skated down the right side after receiving a long breakout pass from Kent Huskins and fired a laser from a bad angle past Rinne. Perhaps Pekka could’ve made the stop, but Setoguchi deserves a lot of credit for scoring on such a difficult shot.
  •  From that point on, the momentum that had been slowly shifting San Jose’s way was fully theirs. They constantly had Nashville on their heels, but Pekka managed to keep the game even.
 3rd Period
  • Ten minutes and one second. That’s how long it took the Preds to register a shot on goal in the period. Inexcusable.
  • Timing. Just as Patrick Marleau hopped onto the ice to replace Setoguchi, Goc turned the puck over, and Huskins hit Marleau on the fly for a breakaway. Marleau scored at 3:53. I'm trying not to put any blame on Alex Sulzer and Shane O'Brein for not picking up the man coming off the Sharks bench, but of all the people you don't want to see on a breakaway, Marleau is near the top of that list.

Other Thoughts
  • With the OT loss, Nashville is now tied with Dallas, Anaheim, and San Jose with 68 points. San Jose has played one more game than the other three teams, but there's still very little room for error with each passing game.
  •  0-5 in overtime this season. We’re in February, for crying out loud! Who is glad that overtime in the playoffs is not 4-on-4?
  •  Why did Marek Svatos play only 4:31? The guy looked really good for the limited time that he was on the ice, but he was brought in to pitch in offensively. Right?
  •  Mike Fisher looked good tonight, considering this is only his second game, and the opponent wasn’t Colorado. If he can find some chemistry with Erat and Kostitsyn, that line has the potential to do some serious damage. (How many times have we said that this season? Too many to count…)

Games like tonight are just baffling. San Jose was playing the final game of a seven game road trip, and yet looked like they were playing the first. With that being said, how do you give up fifty shots? The Preds need to find some offensive support, and fast, because asking Pekka to stop a ridiculous number of shots night in and night out does not spell well for this team. 

Seven points separate 4th from 12th. I know there's 25 games to go, but if the Preds don't find some form of consistency in the offense, they very well could be on the outside looking in.

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