Preds fail to shoot the puck (again), lose to Blackhawks…

The Nashville Predators have one of the worst offenses in the league (24 goals in 12 games) and, in order to correct that, they need to shoot the puck.

Stop me when you’ve heard this before.

The Preds have had some low shot efforts this season. They had just 14 against Los Angeles on February 7, 19 against St. Louis on February 5, 14 against the Kings on January 31 and an abysmal 13 against the Blues on January 24.

They can add tonight’s game to that group as Nashville mustered just 17 shots on goal in an ugly effort, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-0.

Chicago is now 10-0-2 on year, leads the Central Division, is the top team in the Western Conference and is undefeated in regulation through a quarter of the NHL season.

Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne turned aside 24 shots in the loss.

The two teams played penalty-free and goal-free hockey in the opening 20 minutes. There was a little foreshadowing, however, as Nashville put just three shots on goal in the frame.

In the second, Marcus Kruger may have gotten on the board for Chicago but Predators defenseman Roman Josi played a big part. The puck bounced into the Nashville zone and the Bern, Switzerland, native tried to kick the puck out. Instead, it went right to a forechecking Kruger who fired a wrist shot that beat Rinne stick-side.

Just moments later, Jonathan Toews added his name to the scoresheet when Duncan Keith put a backhander toward the net. It hit Toews on it’s way in, giving his team a 2-0 advantage.

In the final period, Patrick Kane got a fortunate bounce and put the Blackhawks up 3-0. In a shot that looked eerily similar to his Stanley Cup winning goal in 2010, Kane fired an innocent shot as he was skating down the wall. While Rinne was trying to creep back into position along the near post, the shot caught him a bit off guard and slid into the net.

The Predators can’t possibly expect to win more games than they lose when they register less than 20 shots per game. So far this season, they’ve played 12 games and have only outshot their opponent once. If that wasn’t bad enough, Nashville has put less than 20 shots on goal in nearly half (five).

This week is a busy one for the Predators. On Tuesday, they’ll host the San Jose Sharks, on Wednesday they’ll participate in the GnashVegas Gala (you can get your tickets to this amazing event HERE), they’ll play the Phoenix Coyotes the very next night and then complete their homestand when they take on the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Puck drops on Tuesday at 7:00pm Central. You can catch all the action at Bridgestone Arena, on the radio at 102.5 The Game or on TV on Fox Sports Tennessee.

* Former Predator Sheldon Brookbank was among the scratches for Chicago.
* Brookbank played in three games for Nashville back in 2006-07, amassing a single assist and 12 penalty minutes.
* Patric Hornqvist (injured), Matt Halischuk and Brian McGrattan were scratched for the Predators once again.
* Halischuk hasn’t played since February 2 in San Jose.
* McGrattan hasn’t dressed since January 21 against St. Louis.
* Hornqvist was hurt January 26 in Anaheim and is expected to miss 2-3 more weeks.
* Rinne hadn’t allowed an even strength goal in 316:40 before Marcus Kruger‘s second period tally.
* Bridgestone Arena was sold out for the 17th consecutive time, dating back to last season.

1) Marcus Kruger (CHI)
2) Patrick Kane (CHI)
3) Corey Crawford (CHI)

PHOTO CREDIT: Melissa Grissom (used with permission)

One Comment

  1. Christopher-J (@beautypersoni)

    February 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Last night’s third period for the Preds, while still coming up blank on the scoresheet, was how they should have played during the first and second periods. They got 10 shots in the third, and took many more “shots” that didn’t hit the net for whatever reason. I’m a strong proponent of “a good offense can make a good defense”; that the more shots a team takes, the less time the opposing team has the puck.

    No one controls the puck when it is in the air, but the more shots a team takes towards the the opposing net, the more time it will ultimately spend in the offensive zone, and the more time it will take the opposing team to get the puck under their control and back down the ice. More shots also means more rebounds, bounces and deflections, and since these happen in the offensive zone, the advantage goes to the attacking team until the puck crosses the blueline. Taking a shot is also a pretty decent way to stop an opponent from stealing the puck, while at the same time possibly getting a goal.

    If the Preds had taken as many shots and shot attempts in the first and second as they did in the third, they could have easily have been leading on the scoreboard going into the third. Which doesn’t mean they should then clamp down and play “safe”. Against a talented team like Chicago, with players like Hossa, Toews and that punk Kane, the Preds strategy in the third was the right strategy no matter the score.

    If Nashville had went into the third up 3-0 and then played “safe” by not taking any real offensive chances and taking few shots… Well, the puck would have been in Preds’ zone much too often, giving the Blackhawks way too many chances to set up scoring opportunities which, with the players they have, would have likely lead to a nail-biting finish. Which in and of itself isn’t bad, but handing an opposing team the opportunity to come from behind…