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Lack of traffic dooms Predators in Thanksgiving tilt

Seth Jones Intro

Nov 29, 2013


On Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators were unable to solve Ilya Bryzgalov and the Edmonton Oilers, suffering a 3-0 loss.

Bryzgalov, making his first start in an Edmonton sweater and his first NHL start since April 25 of last season, stopped all 33 Nashville shots that he saved en route to the shutout.

“We talked before the game and we need to get in the hard areas and we need to throw some pucks in the net,” Nashville head coach Barry Trotz said. “(Bryzgalov) hasn’t played for a while and he might be a little rusty, his game might not be tight. Obviously they’re going to play hard in front of him, but we didn’t play hard enough in those hard areas. We were in the corners all the time and we weren’t giving them nearly enough traffic. We had a couple good looks, but we didn’t hit the net.”

Predators defenseman Seth Jones agreed with Trotz’s assertion that Nashville was not getting enough traffic in front of Bryzgalov.

“I think we hit him with a lot of pucks, but we did not get enough traffic in front of him,” Jones said. “We knew that he hadn’t really played in a while and we knew that there would kind of be a coming out party for him. We knew the guys were going to play hard in front of him and do the best they could for him. We knew that, but we just did not have enough players in his face.”

Only 13 of Nashville’s 33 shots were taken from inside of 40 feet from the goal. Out of those 13, only five were from inside 20 feet – the distance from the faceoff dots to the goal. That means that while Nashville had 33 shots on net, 28 of the 33 shots came from beyond the faceoff circles.

“He wasn’t that busy and when we had some good looks we didn’t make him make a save,” Trotz said. “We missed the net or got too fine.”

“We knew that we had to get traffic to the front of the net and work them down low in their zone and we didn’t really do either of those things,” Jones said. “We had a few shifts here or there where we did it, but we weren’t very consistent throughout the game.”

Nashville had scored four goals in each of their past two games. Prior to that, they had been shutout against the New York Rangers on Saturday night. In fact, the Predators have been shutout six times this year. In five of those instances, the team had scored three or more goals in the game prior and won. The one outlier was the second game of back-to-back shutouts versus the Jets and the Devils.

“We’re getting in a little bit of a rhythm where we score a lot of goals for a few games and then we get shut out,” Jones said. “It happened to us last week against the Rangers here at home and we won two in a row before that game. So we’ve got to kind of eliminate these (shutouts) out of our game. We’re having a good streak but then we take shortcuts here and there and we get away from what we do best. I think if we get away from those games like we had tonight we’ll be just fine.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua