(Photo by: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
The Predators need to forget everything that ever happened on this road trip. They simply have not looked like a team that cares over the last 5 games. They went 1-4, capped off by tonight's 4-3 loss to the Coumblus Blue Jackets. The Preds came out with surprising enthusiasm and were all over the home team in the first five minutes. But the game went steadily downhill from there. The Preds showed no skill, no hope and no enthusiasm in the next 52 minutes. Their one goal came almost out of surprise on a nice Josi point shot that was redirected. However with three left to play, after a 52 minute drought, they tallied twice to make it a one goal game, which they lost.
With a day off before their next game, Trotz needs to dig deep(er) into his bag of tricks to find some kind of motivation for this distraught group of men. In my experience, a cattle prod and candy does the trick.
The Predators came out with some spunk, outshooting the Bue Jackets 6-1 early. But the positive start quickly faded as the Jackets countered and worked their way back in it. As momentum was shifting, Clune took a hooking penalty. The powerplay was enough for the Jackets to get on top of the game again. Rinne made some good saves and we had an okay penalty kill against the 28th ranked PP in the league, but nonetheless Columbus was back in it and Nashville's early momentum seemed all but gone. The second period wrapped up with Columbus up 11-9 in shots.
The second started up as the first ended. And it didn't take long for the Blue Jackets to finally capitalize on their energy. Fedor Tyutin beat Rinne for his second goal of the season. The first goal against is a kiss of death for the Predators, who have only won once this season when going down 1-0.
Columbus kept pouring it on after their first tally. Five minutes later they had possession in the Predators zone for almost a full minute before a point pass to Vinny Pospal and, with some time and space, lifts it over Rinne's shoulder.
The Predators got a powerplay soon after, but looked dreadful against a penalty kill that hasn't allowed a 5-4 goal in over a month.
The away team did manage to surprise not-confident fans though by pulling to within one, seemingly from out of nowhere. Josi unleashed a good slapshot that either tipped off Bourque or Yip (officially Bourque, jury is still out though) and past Bobrovsky. It was 2-1 going into the third.
Columbus extended their lead in the third over a flat footed Predators with a rare powerplay goal at the 10 minute mark, and a fourth goal shortly after.
As Preds fans collectively threw their remote and/or laptop out the window, Chris Mueller tallied his first ever NHL goal to make it 4-2 with three minutes left. "So what, big deal" everyone thought. But immediately after, with Rinne on the bench, Fisher popped a third past Bobrovsky to set the stage for the final minute and a half. It, of course, came to nothing, again snatching away any hope Preds fans had of success.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#72 Sergei Bobrovsky
Predators Scratches: #22 D Scott Hannan, #11 LW Bobby Butler and #74 W Sergei Kostitsyn
Blue Jackets Scratches: #33 D Adrian Aucoin, #9 Colton Gillies
Predators fall to 13th in the west: It's still a log jam in the Western Conference, but with tonight's loss Nashville is two spots from the bottom of the West with a game or two in hand of most other teams. They now return home for four games, where they have been ever-so-slightly better, but still not good. We need to face it, this has not been the season for our team.
It has been a while since the Predators have been this low in the standings, so it will be interesting to see how they respond in the remainder of the season. There are some glimmers of optimism I suppose. There has been good rotation in and our of the lineup from AHLers and Waiver claims a like - and it will have to continue as Trotz said today that Hornqvist and Wilson aren't close to returning. Our young players are also showing a lot of promise as they shine through the murky darkness of the rest of the players.
The only crutch for Preds fans as this season begins to wind down is that a good bulk of our remaining games are at home from here on out. We have been only slightly better at Bridgestone than on the road, but the advantaged definitely won't hurt.
Nashville gets a day off before they take on Calgary in the first of four straight home games.
Taylor Beck is third AHL player in the lineup: Continuing with the juggling of personel, Taylor Beck made his NHL debut today, playing with the Nashville Predators and AHL teammates Chris Mueller and Victor Bartley. On the decision Trotz said "[Beck] can't be any worse than the guy he's replacing tonight. At least we'll see some compete". I've checked with my sources and done some analysis, and I am pretty sure that Trotz is subtly referencing Kostitsyn here. Gaustad's placement on IR opened up a roster spot for Beck, as Bobby Butler took his turn in the healthy scratch position. Trotz tried to use some mutual motivation, putting Beck with Fisher and Erat; which is the line that took the opening faceoff. Beck's biggest moment in the game was when he, arguably accidentaly, collided with Nick Floigno. Foligno didn't get up on his own, and left the game momentarily after the hit. Beck finished the game with a +/- of 0 and 14:49 of ice time. He had two shots on goal.
Goals and Assists
1-0 CBJ: Fedor Tyutin - Unberger, Johnson at 4:08 in the 2nd
2-0 CBJ: Mark Leetsu - Vinny Prospal, Dalton Prout, at 9:39 in the 2nd
2-1 NSH: Gabriel Bourque - Josi, Legwand at 14:45 in the 2nd
3-1 CBJ: PP Nikita Nikitin - Prospal, Johnson at 10:00 in the 3rd
4-1 CBJ: Derick Brassard - Letestu, Prospal at 12:41 in the 3rd
4-2 NSH: Chris Mueller - Clune, Weber at 17:59 in the 3rd
4-3 NSH: Mike Fisher - Yip, Weber at 18:46 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Vinny Prospal: 3 assists
2. Mark Leetsu: 1 goal, 1 assist
3. Shea Weber: 2 assits