The Achilles heel of the Nashville Predators for the 2010-2011 season has been playing hard for 60 minutes, which is mindboggling after what happened to them in Game 5 in the playoffs last year against the Chicago Blackhawks. On Saturday, that problem struck again as the Predators gave up a 3-0 lead to the Detroit Red Wings and lost the game 4-3 in overtime.
Failing to play hard for the entire game has been a problem with them all year, and it's beginning to haunt them again. The Predators have gotten away with relaxing a few times this year, but that's not going to happen at this time of the year.
The fact that Nashville is having problems finishing games this year is unacceptable. Pred Nation remembers the sting of Game 5 in Chicago last year. The Predators had the eventual Stanley Cup Champions on the ropes, and were threatening to take a 3-2 lead in the series. Of course, we all know how that one turned out. Given that, the thought of the Predators relaxing at any point of any game with any lead is utterly mindboggling. As coach Trotz said after the Anaheim game, "When the hell are we going to learn?"
With the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs looking extremely likely for the Predators, this problem needs to be addressed and a solution needs to be found. Maybe a good chewing by Barry Trotz to the players is needed. Maybe, instead of practice, he needs to call all the players into the film room and watch Game 5 over....and over.......and over.....again. The message has to be sent, and it has to be sent loud and clear.
Nashville has three more games to figure this out. After that, the Playoffs are here and the time for learning the lesson is gone. Simply put, if Nashville doesn't play a 60 minute game in the postseason, they can forget winning the game. It simply will not happen. This week marks the last week of the 2010-2011 regular season. Maybe, after 82 games, this problem will finally be solved by the coaches and players.