The Middle Frame
Last night’s 6-1 thumping by the Anaheim Ducks has to be a wake-up call for this team. Currently, the Nashville Predators are 2-4-0 this season, have looked bad in their losses and last night was no exception. The second period was one of the worst periods of hockey that this team has played all year. Giving up five goals in the second frame moved the team to eighth in the NHL in goals-against during the middle period, allowing eight goals during the second period. Before last night, they were one of the best teams in the NHL during that period. The Predators are struggling in multiple areas of their game, and must make adjustments otherwise it could be more of the same against a talented Kings squad tonight in the Staples Center.
Rinne Needs Help
One glaring area of need is surrounding the goaltender. Granted, the first goal last night was pretty weak, the defense in front of Rinne has not been good this season. The statistics of blocked shots are down as Nashville is 18th with 82 blocked shots. The Predators are 20th in hits with 120. The Nashville Predators have got to bring the physical part of their play back. This is the missing part of their game. Traditionally, the Predators would bring physicality to their style of hockey where they could produce more takeaways and get better chances in their offensive end. This will help out Pekka Rinne and Marek Mazanec significantly in front of the net. The goaltenders can not do it all. It takes a group effort blocking shots, forechecking, and pressing in the opposing end.
Kings on a Roll
The Los Angeles Kings started this season out in a funk. They were unable to get their first win until game four of the regular season, and have not lost a game since. Winners of three straight, the Kings are playing well. Every game that they have won has gone into the overtime period. Tanner Pearson leads the team with six points (four goals, two assists). After Jonathan Quick was placed on injury reserve with a lower-body injury, Peter Budaj has stepped in comfortably as the number one goaltender. In four games this season, Budaj has a record of 3-0-0, 2.32 goals-against average, and .893 save percentage. The Kings are playing well and Nashville will have to be on their game tonight.
The Predators will try to right the ills from last night and come out of the Staples Center with a win tonight. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 9:30 pm.