The Nashville Predators suffered a 3-0 shutout in their home opener Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.
Calgary Key Stats
Nashville Key Stats
Power Play Attempts: 0/4
Penalty Kill Attempts:2/4
Nashville’s opening night festivities were spoiled by an embarrassing loss. The first period was quiet until Gaudreau swiftly skated through Nashville’s defense and found Lindholm, who netted Calgary’s first goal. The shot totals increased during the second period, yet Calgary’s lead expanded by another goal. The third period began with Calgary’s third score, and Nashville did not respond.
Nashville out shot Calgary, but the Flames took better shots. The power play benefitted the Flames twice; on the contrary, special teams were the Predators’ demise. Flames goaltender Mike Smith dominated in net. Smith perplexed the Predators, stopping all 43 shots.
Defenseman P.K. Subban has not played well defensively to start the season. In the season opener, he forgot to cover a Ranger forward in front of the net. The Islanders took advantage of Subban turning the puck over behind the net. Against Calgary, he cost Nashville a goal by being too offensively aggressive in the opening sequence of the third period.
In addition, Subban drew the first penalty of the night. Although he’s tied for the most points on the team, he needs to play better defense.
Netminder Pekka Rinne allowed 3 goals on 27 shots. Performances like these cannot happen if Nashville wants to compete beyond 82 games. This loss is not Rinne’s responsibility, but as a goaltender, it’s his job to stop pucks. Allowing one goal per period, (more specifically, one goal every nine shots put on net), will not suffice in the long run.
That being said, Rinne shut many intense Calgary sequences down. Calgary’s Smith was the better goalie tonight, although discrediting Rinne’s bright moments would be unfair.
Once again, penalties plagued the Predators. The penalty kill was successful only twice out of four attempts, whereas Nashville did not generate any offense on the power play. Special teams are an area of concern, but what’s new?
Head Coach Peter Laviolette said, “You have to give their goalie some credit; he played a really good game. It seemed like we fired more pucks, and it seemed like we made it a little more difficult in there, but at the end of the day, we didn’t capitalize on the ones that we could have or he made the saves. It just didn’t happen tonight.”
And a final note, the Nashville Predators weren’t shutout at home at all last season.
Déjà Vu All Over Again?
Nashville’s performance against the Flames is reminiscent of their performance against the Winnipeg Jets in the 2017-2018 playoffs. Heavy shot totals mean nothing if the score at the end of the game is zero. Overall, it was an undisciplined, inconsistent, and disappointing display for their home opener.
The good news? There are 79 games left.
Cover Photo Credits: Mark Humphreys / AP Photos -Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for Fullpresscoverage.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter @jack_woods15.