For the third game in a row, the Nashville Predators came out with embarrassing effort and ended up on the losing side of the contest. The Preds fell to the Senators by a score of 2-1. It was very apparent how the game was going to turn out just by looking at the flow of play during the first few minutes. Of the first 10 shots that were taken in the game, Ottawa had nine of them. The Preds had barely any offensive flow all night and had several lazy plays that led to turnovers.
In the first period, Ottawa simply dominated the Preds. They got out to a 1-0 lead on the bonehead breakdown by none other than Kevin Klein, and his defensive partner Francis Bouillon. Pekka Rinne played well enough in the first period to keep the Preds in the game.
In the second period, the Preds found themselves behind 2-0 on another defensive breakdown, while Ottawa was on the power-play, by Ryan Suter. The Preds finally got on the board when Cody Franson threw a puck towards the net that was tipped in by Marcel Goc. Also, Martin Erat was hurt on a shorthanded breakaway during the second period. The report is that it's an upper body injury and he remains questionable for Sunday's game at St. Louis.
In the third, the Preds weren't able to get any consistent offensive pressure on the Sens. They had plenty of chances that were either squandered by good defense, or by unbelievably dumb plays on the rush. Steve Sullivan was the worst culprit when it came to that. He also got hurt and went down the tunnel in the third period.
Steve Sullivan- Sully was awful tonight. He made several stupid decisons that eliminated some scoring chances, and was also very careless with the puck. He had numerous turnovers and really was the worst player on the ice during the game. I don't even attribute it to the injury he had going into the game. He just simply played stupid hockey. He looked like a rookie.
Cal O'Reilly- It seems as if we've jumped on the bandwagon with this kid too soon. He started off the season great, but has not been good here lately. The coaches must've shared that sentiment because he only got about 7 minutes of ice time tonight. I really think that he might actually have a nervous breakdown if forced to actually shoot the puck. He's the poster child of the old "one extra pass" routine that we've seen throughout Nashville's history.
Kevin Klein- I hate to keep harping on it but the kid is awful. There's really no way to defend him anymore.
Pekka Rinne- Pekka was really solid in his return to the lineup. He played a good enough game to come out with the win, but simply didn't get any help at all. It's a good sign that he didn't look rusty.
There's a few points in the season where a team needs a good ripping. Luckily, I will never hesitate to be the one that gives them that. The effort in the last three games has been awful. They acted like they didn't even want to be there, and that viewpoint has been echoed by the coaching staff(Which really falls back on them because it is their JOB to get them to play hard). I'm really tired of the excuses that are made for this team. Things get sugarcoated and they really never should be. There is absolutely no excuse to come out with almost zero effort for three games in a row. I really can understand not having a great effort in one game and possibly two in a row. But there is never a reason to have a lack of effort for three straight games. Quite frankly, it's embarrassing. The players should be embarrassed to put a string of games out like this. They had a sold out crowd at the Bridgestone Arena that was just waiting to explode. They never gave the crowd any reason to do that.
Terry Crisp made a comment on 104.5 The Zone's "AllState Sports Zone" Thursday that really hammered home something that I've been trying to get across for a long while. A caller made a comment about Spaling replacing Lombardi and doing a great job with the penalty killing roles and having a great impact on the team. Crispy basically went on to say that he was tired of people saying things like that. He made the point that this team already had its fair share of penalty killing forwards, and forwards who were defensively minded. He said that we need people who can score goals. It really can't be more simple than that. I get so tired of people getting gaga over players like Nick Spaling. Yes, the kid has done a fantastic job with the penalty kill. The problem is, we've got about 9 forwards on this team who are really good on the defensive end, but possess almost no offensive threat at all. I mean think about it. Jordin Tootoo, Wade Belak, Jerred Smithson, Joel Ward, Nick Spaling, Marcel Goc, J.P. Dumont, David Legwand. None of these guys are really huge offensive threats. Yes, most of them are really fine players that I believe have great value for this club. But we're not going anywhere if we don't put the puck in the net. Plain and simple.
The Preds have got to pick up their game on Sunday. Effort is something that has been a problem for this team, and that's a really disappointing truth. Especially when you play a team like Chicago. They've been claiming that they're still motivated and hurt by how the playoff series went down against the Hawks, but then came out with a pathetic effort on Wednesday night against the Hawks. It just doesn't make sense to me. January is going to be a tough month. The Preds only have 3 home games in the entire month of January. The effort has got to get better if they want to be successful.