The Nashville Predators took on the Vancouver Canucks in Rogers Arena looking to correct the mistakes that had plagued them in three straight losses.
School is going to continue to be in session for the Predators.
They were just embarrassed in 5-1 loss to the Canucks.
There were a few bad breaks for the Predators, but they were out played from end to end in this contest.
It is always a bad sign when you have more than double the number of penalty minutes than shots on goal. Yes, that is what the Predators managed to do.
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring, as he banked a shot off the back of Pekka Rinne from behind the goal line at 2:11 of the first.
Matt Halishcuk answered for the Predators at 4:01 of the first period as he took a Colin Wilson shot off the end boards and slammed the rebound past a an out of position Roberto Luongo to tie the game.
From that point on, it was all downhill for the Predators.
Henrik Sedin scored on a power play with Colin Wilson in the box for a double minor for high sticking at 5:56 of the first.
Rinne attempted to clear a puck around the boards, but it was held in at the point by Alex Edler. Edler shot the puck toward the net and it was tipped by Dale Weise past Rinne at 12:02 to make it 3-1 Canucks.
Chris Higgins broke in 2 on 1 against Jonathan Blum, and attempted to pass the puck. Blum blocked the pass right back to Higgins, who had an open net in which to shoot the puck as Rinne was out of position to play the pass.
Not only did the wheels come off for the Predators in the first period, the car ran into to the ditch and caught fire.
Fortunately for the Predators, the Canucks did not score in the second period. Unfortunately, the Predators did not either. In fact, they failed to generate many quality scoring chances.
Anders Lindback came on in relief for Rinne to start the second period, and he was a busy goaltender. Although the Canucks did not score, it was not for lack of effort and help from the Predators. The Predators took three straight penalties, including a span of 90 seconds where they were down two men.Kudos to Lindback and the Predators PK unit for a solid effort.
The penalties and the lack of offensive punch contributed to a 31-19 shot advantage for the Canucks through two periods, continuing the troubling trend of the Predators being outshot by a wide margin.
This is a team that is not built to score a lot of goals, and they have to play disciplined, fundamentally sound hockey. Right now, this team is doing neither.
The third period saw the Canucks add another tally to make it 5-1 as Ryan Suter was called for Shea Weber took a selfish and undisciplined double minor unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Ryan Kesler made them pay with a one timer at 6:06 of the third for the final margin.
If you think my statement about the Predators not being built to score goals, consider these two facts: the Predators did not record a shot on goal in the third period until there was 7:47 remaining; and for the game, the Predators were once again outshot by a wide margin, 40-26
That is pathetic.
The level of play of this team is not remotely where it needs to be to be competitive. They are undisciplined and error prone and lack the intensity necessary to compete.
I know this team is young, but the core of veterans remains, and there is a break down between the coaching and the play on the ice. Veteran leadership, save for the fiery Jerred Smithson, is absent.
This is a formula for a disastrous season.
Bad habits developed early in a season can carry over throughout the season. It is time for those mental breakdowns and lack of intensity to be addressed and corrected.
Otherwise, it is going to be a long and embarrassing season for the Predators.
My three stars:
1. Daniel Sedin
3. Roberto Luongo
About the Author: A native Nashvillian that grew up with minor league hockey, I'm now a devoted Predators fan and NHL follower. I have had the privilege of allowing my children to grow up watching the Predators and seeing the joy on their face when they are at a game. By day, I am a partner in an independent investment management company in the Nashville area. I played collegiate football and graduated from the University of South Carolina and graduated from the LSU graduate School of Banking. So yes, there are real true southern hockey fans in these non-traditional markets.