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Breath of Fresh Air Turns Sour, Predators Drop to the Sharks 3-1


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Photo Credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

So much for starting a new streak after breaking the 4 game losing streak they were on previously. Nashville came into the game against San Jose with a cool breeze of freshness added to their lineup with the return of Mike Fisher and Francis Bouillon, however it was all for naught as they drop the opener of a 3-game homestand to the Sharks, 3-1

Special Teams:
Powerplay – 1 for 4, 25%
Penalty Kill – 2 for 2, 100%

Best Play of the Game: Craig Smith kept slapping away at the puck during the last powerplay the Predators would get and finally the puck decided to go in the net from a beautiful backhand by Smith, tying the game at 1 late in the third.

Worst Play of the Game: Although the Sharks scoring 57 seconds after Smith tied it was pretty deflating, having an opponent score shorthanded and put up more shots on your net then you can on your man-advantage is even worse. Logan Couture finished a play started by notable Pred-Killer Martin Havlat and squeaked a puck JUST over Rinne’s right leg to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at the trailing end of the first period.

My Three Stars:
#1: Joe Pavelski – 2 goals, including the game winner and insurance tallies, plus an overall great effort from the Wisconsin-native.

#2: Craig Smith/Mike Fisher – I split this star between these two guys because without either of them playing on the same line, Nashville doesn’t produce half of the quality chances they had. Fisher/Smith/Kostitsyn is going to be an EXTREMELY dangerous line, mark my words.

#3: Joe Thornton – Jumbo Joe registered two assists on the night and a +2 overall rating against the Predators. His presence alone and what he brings to the Sharks is dangerous enough, but when he’s adding goals/helpers? Good luck coming out on the positive end of it

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Well, the good news is that Nashville shot the puck a little more. Where they had 14 shots on net against Calgary, they ended up with 20 shots on net against the Sharks. The bad news? They’ve only managed double-digit shots in a period against an opponent ONCE in the past 4 games (1st period @ Vancouver).

If Nashville wants to start having an increased amount of success in the outcome of the games they play, shots to the net have to increased. There were plenty of times during last night’s action where there was a possibility of a REALLY good shot where it turned into a pass. What makes matters worse? The fans are starting to get antsy (which isn’t really a surprise, to be honest)

One of the funniest things I ever heard at my time inside the Bridgestone Arena happened last night. A good amount of the people in the section I sit in (332) started yelling out the number of total passes the Predators took during the early powerplay in the third period for Nashville. They got up to 11 at one point, but whenever Nashville lost possession, the count restarted.

As funny as that was in person and as silly as it sounds, it’s the proverbial tip of the iceberg when it comes the Nashville’s growing issue with shooting the puck. Albeit the Predators are steadily growing their number of shots, it’s frustrating for them, their fans, and their coaches to see numbers like that at the end of the night. Ultimately, Nashville will correct their problem sooner rather than later, it’s just what will it take to get it done.

NEW SEGMENT!

I was asked a question last night by one of my Twitter followers, so I’m inclined to share. From now on, if you have a question before/during/after a game and would like it answered in my pre-game/post-game write-ups, just tweet it/facebook it/google+ it/email it to me and I’ll include it and your name/twitter handle/nickname/etc to give you credit! (I’ll do my best to answer all of your questions)

I’m not going to hound anyone for their questions either, everyone has their own unique questions and all deserve an appropriate response

@TheHockeyGuyBHS asked me last night “Why have we not started Anders Lindback?”

Well, to be honest, there isn’t a real need to start Lindback right now. Rinne is playing fine, however he’s just getting peppered with a lot of shots night in and night out. Granted, giving Lindback some time would be great for his development, but the problem here is that Nashville wants the best possible chance to win night-in and night-out. No one gives the Predators a better chance to do so than Pekka Rinne. Unless Rinne is hurt, exhausted, giving up 4+ goals a night that can’t be attributed to poor defense, or just needs a break in general, he’ll play the majority of the games. However, this doesn’t take ANYTHING away from Lindaback, just putting that out there.

Stay tuned to The Predatorial on tonight or Thursday morning for the gameday preview of the Tampa Bay game!

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Stay frosty, friends.

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