I've never really paid much attention to how a team looks in warmups before. Usually you can't really decipher an awful lot from warmups as to how the game is going to be played. However, tonight the Predators looked very energetic in their warmups, and really looked sharp. And, for the most part, that's really how they played. However, it ended in another losing effort for 4 reasons.
The Nashville Predators lost to the Dallas Stars 4-2 tonight, but outshot them 46-25. You look at the shots and you figure that Nashville wins the game by a pretty good margin. That wasn't the case tonight, which brings me to reason number one.
The Predators are not very good at finishing. They had 46 shots and only scored on 2 of them. Added to that was the fact that Colin Wilson scored both goals, so there was really only one Predator that finished tonight. Having said that, Andrew Raycroft of the Stars was fantastic tonight. He made some big saves. Still, when you shoot it 46 times, you've got to score more than twice. I am impressed that we shot the puck as much as we did though.
My second reason for the loss tonight is the Pekka Rinne was really not very good at all tonight. He kept giving up rebounds, he wasn't seeing the puck very well at all, and he let in a few goals that should not be let in. Two, however, were not his fault. That brings me to reason 3.
The defense had a few breakdowns during the game that ended up costing the team. You guessed it. Kevin Klein. It's like the water cycle isn't it? It's just one big process that keeps repeating itself. I don't know what he was doing on the first goal by Steve Ott. Ott crashed the net and Kevin Klein stood there like a knot on a log and let him skate right by and score. Pekka's disgusted look he threw at Klein after the goal really sums up the feeling that most Predator fans have towards him right now. And if the mental and emotional tole of dealing with Klein wasn't enough, one poor fan physically had to suffer from Klein's stupidity. He shot the puck out of play during the 3rd period for a delay of game penalty, and the puck hit a fan in the head. I just hope the guy is ok because it didn't look good from where I was sitting when they took him out of the arena. He had a convoy of about 5 people helping him out. We've got to do something about Klein. I don't know if a trade will work because who in their right mind would take him? But we have to do something because he will do nothing but cost this team points.
The 4th reason really speaks for itself at this point. Injuries. I'm not one to make excuses. I really am probably more critical of this team than any other blogger, which most of the time I probably shouldn't be. However, I really didn't expect much from the Preds tonight vs. the Stars. I mean come on. Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat, David Legwand, Matthew Lombardi, and Jordin Tootoo were all out. That is a pretty tough thing to deal with when 5 key players are missing.
The bottom line is that the Predators aren't catching any breaks. When the offense sucks, Pekka Rinne stands on his head and plays well like he did vs. St. Louis. When the offense wakes up and gets 46 shots on goal, Pekka Rinne plays average at best. The Preds just are not a very lucky hockey team this year, and I don't know why that is. Heck, I think it stretches all the way back to the Martin Erat Game 5 debacle in the playoffs. Maybe the new calendar year of 2011 will bring us some better luck.