Predators Round-Up: Struggles Continue

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NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 19: Roman Josi #59 and Ryan Hartman #38 of the Nashville Predators prepare to take the ice against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena on January 19, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators lost twice and won once over the span of the last three games. Nashville looked completely disorganized against the Vegas Golden Knights and took another loss against the Detroit Red Wings, yet defeated the Montreal Canadiens.

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Against Detroit: Viktor Arvidsson, P.K. Subban

Against Montreal: Ryan Hartman, Brian Boyle, Viktor Arvidsson

Against Vegas: Kevin Fiala

Assists

Against Detroit: Ryan Johansen (2), P.K. Subban, Filip Forsberg

Against Montreal: Craig Smith, P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis

Against Vegas: Mattias Ekholm

What Happened (Detroit)

The Predators were the better team, but Detroit prevailed. Viktor Arvidsson’s tally at 7:49 in the second period pulled Nashville within one goal after the Red Wings went up two. P.K. Subban slapped a tying power play goal at 17:32, but ultimately, Detroit overcame the tie and defeated the Predators at home.

What Happened (Montreal)

Nashville rebounded against Montreal. Ryan Hartman tallied his tenth goal of the year at 9:49 in the second period. Despite an immediate response from the Habs, Brian Boyle slapped his first goal as a Predator at 8:36 in the third period and Viktor Arvidsson finished the game at 11:00. Nashville sent Shea Weber, who was playing his 900th career game, and the Montreal Canadiens home with a loss.

What Happened (Vegas)

The Golden Knights dominated the Predators from the start. Vegas held a three-goal lead until Kevin Fiala finally broke through at 4:17 in the third period, but the Knights responded almost immediately and tacked another one for good measure. The final score from Las Vegas was 5-1.

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Some Stats For You

These stats are since January 23rd, or the last time Nashville played the Vegas Golden Knights. Ryan Johansen has accumulated eleven points, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg have picked up eight points, and Roman Josi has produced ten points. In total, that is 37 points over ten games- that is spectacular.

The rest of the team has produced 32 points altogether; to translate, the team overall is not playing well. Roman Josi and the first line are stepping up to the challenge and keeping the team in the game- there is little to no help coming from the back end of the lineup.

Kyle Turris hasn’t recorded one point since returning. Kevin Fiala and Ryan Hartman both reached ten goals within the last three games, but no evidence supports consistent scoring from either player. Additionally, Nick Bonino, Colton Sissons, and Mattias Ekholm have cooled off.

Looking Forward

Juuse Saros and Pekka Rinne have a Goals Against Average above 2.40, yet their save percentages are above average- between the two of them, they’ve seen 161 fewer shots than both Winnipeg goaltenders. Both of them had very bad stretches of hockey, but they’ve also bailed out the Nashville defense a number of times. It’s weird- they’re playing well but they’re also not playing as well as they need to.

The Nashville Predators are struggling (thank you Captain Obvious). In their defense, there hasn’t been one game where they had the same roster that manned the ice during the playoffs last year.

P.K. Subban and Kyle Turris have been hurt and aren’t playing to their full caliber. Austin Watson, their best penalty killer, has missed his fair share and his return is unknown. Ryan Hartman and Kevin Fiala haven’t been able to score goals on a consistent basis. They relied on their first line to start the year, and they’re relying on them too much now. Calle Jarnkrok didn’t step up in the absence of Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg.

All in all, there is little to no chemistry on the ice. No singular trade will fix all problems- they just have to find lines that aren’t inhibitors to their offense and stick with them, find a simple power play strategy, find a way to limit opponent’s shots on goal, and establish offensive zone time. It’s not too late to change course, but time is running thin for the Nashville Predators.

Nobody wants to see another early exit from the playoffs.

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

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