The Nashville Predators were routed on the road, losing 5-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. Following this loss, the Predators will share the first seed in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Ryan Hartman, Colton Sissons, Matt Irwin

Assists

Yannick Weber (2), Ryan Johansen, Roman Josi, Miikka Salomaki, Colton Sissons

Vancouver Key Stats

Goals

Alexander Edler, Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, Elias Pettersson, Loui Eriksson

Assists

Nikolay Goldobin, Elias Pettersson, Jake Virtanen, Antoine Roussel (2), Bo Horvat, Christopher Tanev

What Happened

Vancouver swarmed around the Nashville net throughout the first period. The Canucks outshot the Predators 14-9. On Vancouver’s first power play attempt, Edler rifled a shot from the point that beat Pekka Rinne. However, Rinne did not lose his composure, as he prevented multiple dangerous chances. As the period was ending, Horvat scored the Canucks’ second goal on a 2 on 1 chance. 

Nashville initially shoved back in the second period. Hartman tipped a Weber shot through, but following a missed interference call, Virtanen and Roussel teamed up for yet another 2 on 1 to restore Vancouver’s lead to two. Pettersson drew a penalty shot in the waning minutes of the period, and he expanded the Canucks’ lead to three. 

Juuse Saros relieved Rinne to start the third period, and almost immediately allowed Vancouver’s fifth goal of the night to Eriksson. Sissons stole one back after burying a rebound created by Josi, and Irwin tallied one as well. Unfortunately, it was not enough, and Vancouver sealed the 5-3 victory.

Looking Forward

The Predators are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games, (which includes three losses to Pacific Division teams). They split their most recent 5 home game series 3-2-0, and have not won on the road since November 10th.

There has been no official word on the extent of Kyle Turris or P.K. Subban’s injuries or when they could be returning. Subban has been out since November 13th, and Turris has been out since November 23rd.

Hartman’s tip-in goal gives him eight goals so far- he finally ties Viktor Arvidsson in goals scored on the Predators. Hartman is also on pace for 22 goals this year, but he is only the third player to reach 8 goals thus far. Second and third line forwards are just now catching up to Arvidsson (despite him missing 17 games).

Nick Bonino has not scored since November 25th, and Calle Jarnkrok hasn’t scored since November 27th. The Predators need offense from those two forwards if they want to hold onto their place in the standings.

The Predators pushed back in the third and showed some life in their offense, but leaving Rinne out to dry as much as they did is frankly unacceptable. Somehow, they have to prevent the high danger chances and control the puck in all three zones. 

Saros last played November 23rd against the St. Louis Blues, in which he gave up 5 goals on 15 shots. In his relief appearance, he gave up one goal on five shots. He is expected to start this Saturday night against the Calgary Flames. 

Also, the third line, which included Austin Watson, Colton Sissons, and Miikka Salomaki, registered 13 hits and recorded 5 shots on goal. An unlikely combo to say the least, but still, not bad. 

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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