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The missed off-sides call was egregious but Preds squandered other opportunities in loss…

Duchene off-sides

It was one of the worst non-calls of all-time. St. Louis Blues color man and former NHL goaltender Darren Pang said it was the worst of all-time.

Haven’t seen it yet? See for yourself.

Peter McNab and the Colorado Avalanche TV crew are known for being some of the biggest “homers” in the league. So it speaks volumes when even they said Matt Duchene should have been whistled off-sides. Of course, what else could they say? It’s clear as crystal, as seen in this screen shot:

Duchene off-sides

Even Duchene himself said it was the wrong call.

“I thought it was off-side”, the Avs forward told NHL Live. “I know I was off-side. But I think what they said was that Nashville brought the puck back in. I just thought ‘Oh, I’ll touch the puck and just get a whistle’ but they didn’t blow it, Mason’s set, and I was able to beat him.”

Per Josh Cooper of The Tennessean, the league admitted the linesman got the call wrong and, in the end, it cost the Nashville Predators at least a point in the standings. Sure, it wasn’t the game-winner, but they did end up losing the game by a single goal.

The frustrating thing? This isn’t the first time the Preds have been victim of a horrendous call this season. Less than two weeks ago, on February 9, Nashville was called for an erroneous “delay of game – face-off violation” penalty after center Paul Gaustad accidentally touched the puck with the back of his glove when it bounced too far above the ice. That call led directly to the Devin Setoguchi overtime winner and cost the Preds the game.

When April 27 rolls around and the final standings are set, we’ll undoubtedly look back at these two games and think of what could have and should have been. And while you can blame the officials for costing the Predators both games, a pattern has emerged in both unfortunate losses. Nashville’s power play struggled on the man advantage and they missed plenty of prime opportunities to decide their own fate in each contest.

Against Minnesota, the Preds went 0-for-6 on the power play and, as it turned out, conversion on any one of those advantages would not only have prevented the Gaustad penalty but would have prevented overtime altogether, giving Nashville the win.

Then, yesterday against the Avalanche, the Preds went just 1-for-5 on the man advantage and played poorly in their own end. A perfect example of their defensive zone woes came on a rare turnover by Shea Weber. Normally rock solid, the Preds captain was trying to settle the puck in the near corner when Duchene bumped the 6’4″, 230 lbs. Weber off the puck. He then carried around the Predators’ net and found Jamie McGinn in the face-off circle who ripped a sixth goal past goaltender Chris Mason. That tally would prove to be the eventual game-winner, a full three Avs goals after the botched off-sides call.

The point is this: you can blame the officials all you want — for any bad call in any game, really — but, at the end of the day, you still have to take care of business. Both the face-off penalty and the non-call were unfortunate instances in close games but there were plenty of other opportunities in each contest that the Predators could have capitalized on and made both inconsequential.

Nashville will try to leave the memory of yesterday’s game in Denver by taking on the Detroit Red Wings tonight at Bridgestone Arena. Former fan favorite Jordin Tootoo will play in Music City for the first time as a member of a team not named the Predators when he takes the ice Tuesday night at 7:00pm Central.

It will be his 502nd NHL game.

PHOTO CREDIT: screen shot of FS-Tennessee broadcast