Down in the dumps, the Nashville Predators (10-8-4) have to find a way to quickly right the ship after losing 4 straight games in a row and having their next 3 in Western Canada, starting with their new nemesis in the Edmonton Oilers (12-9-2) tonight.
Nashville’s goaltending, defense, and offense can’t seem to click right now, as their seems to be more “passengers” then “leaders” on a blue collar team that needs someone to step up and lead them through the darkness.
Can Nashville find the light at the end of the tunnel or will their trip through the deep darkness continue?
This Year’s Series: 0-2-0 (0-1-0 Home, 0-1-0 Away)
This Season’s Video Recaps:
Game 1 – October 17th, 2011:
Game 2 – November 22nd, 2011:
Looking at the Oilers: After losing 4 straight nearly two weeks ago, the Oilers have won 3 out of their last 5, all 5 winning teams scoring 4 or more goals. Edmonton has been flip-flopping goaltenders during this stretch with Khabibulin and Dubnyk both alternating starts.
Veteran Ryan Smyth continues to lead the way for the Oilers with 24 points this season while Khabibulin statistically leads Edmonton in their goaltending stats. Edmonton is starting a 6-game homestand tonight against the Predators.
Looking at the Predators: Well, so where do we begin? Nashville is 0-3-1 in their past 4 games and oddly enough they’ve scratched Blake Geoffrion in all 4 of those games (going 10-5-3 with him in the lineup). Is it time to bring Geoffrion back in the lineup and scratch one of the many “passengers” on this team?
What about the Penalty Kill? Opponents are converting at a 38% rate over the four-game losing streak, which is extremely uncharacteristic for Nashville. We all know the powerplay is non-existent as it is, however the Penalty Kill has always been a staple of the Predators organization.
Could Nashville be experiencing a new type of the “Detroit Hangover”? After dropping their first home game to Columbus in 18 tries, Nashville has lost 3 straight. Prior to Columbus, the Predators had gone 8-2-2. The Predators will get another chance against Columbus on December 8th, but until then they need to right the ship very quickly.
For the Oilers to win: Stay the course. This is pretty easy right? Edmonton has found success this season playing the same game twice against the Predators and it’s worked out for them. If they can do it for the third straight time, they’ll win the season series and send Nashville on a season-high 5 game losing streak.
For the Predators to win: Well, everything I’ve said so far pretty much hasn’t worked for Nashville, so let’s make it extremely simple: NO PASSENGERS. Follow the advice of former NFL coach Herman Edwards: “You play to win the game.” Right now, no one is playing to win the game, so until that changes the result won’t change.
Play 60 minutes, play hard, play to win.
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Stay frosty, friends