Where has the offense gone for the Nashville Predators?
The Predators were shut out for the second time in three games on Monday night by the Phoenix Coyotes, losing 4-0 in a game where Phoenix really wasn’t dominant. The Coyotes out-shot the Predators by a 25-21 margin, but didn’t have a major advantage in quality scoring chances. They were just able to capitalize when the Predators were not. The Predators fall to 1-2-3 on the season with the loss.
Offense is really becoming a problem for the Predators early on this season. Nashville has only scored 10 goals in six games so far, which is good for 1.67 goals per game. That’s not a formula for success. With the injury to one of Nashville’s best goal scorers and top shot producers in Patric Hornqvist, the Predators are going to need to quickly find a way to generate more offense.
Pekka Rinne hasn’t been playing bad this year, despite having an 0-2-3 record. He just hasn’t been his usual dominant self, and he’s getting very little goal support from his teammates. The Predators are simply going through a slump at an inopportune time. Before the season, players were adamant that a slow start would really hinder teams in the 48-game season. Well, the Predators have had that dreaded slow start. How will they respond?
Chad Johnson got his first start of the season for the Coyotes in net and played a solid game. He wasn’t tested on quality shots very often but he was up to the challenge when shots were thrown his way. That’s the second goaltender in a row that was making his first NHL start of the 2012-13 season that has stymied the Predators’ offense.
Nashville will have two days off before playing their next game against the defending Stanley Cup champions in Los Angeles. Will Barry Trotz try to shake things up and go with Chris Mason in net? Can the Predators find a way to start generating the offense the desperately need? We’ll find out Thursday night.
Five things about tonight’s game…
- Shea Weber has still yet to register a point through the first six games of the season. He hasn’t yet found the offensive chemistry with Roman Josi, and his shots are not hitting the net with regularity.
- Rinne played a decent game despite giving up four goals. He wasn’t in good position on the first Coyote goal, but he didn’t receive much help on the other three goals. And he received zero help offensively.
- Nashville’s top line of Colin Wilson, Mike Fisher and Martin Erat were able to create some decent chances against Johnson. However, they simply aren’t putting the puck in the net right now. Could more line shakeups be in store?
- Jon Blum was scratched for the sixth consecutive game. No Nashville defenseman has been bad enough to be removed from the lineup as of yet, but one would think Blum will be given a chance soon.
- Sergei Kostitsyn didn’t register a shot on goal against the Coyotes and only has three shots on goal through the first six games this season. That’s simply not going to get the job done.
Three stars of tonight’s game…
1. Chad Johson, PHX… Johnson stopped every shot he faced in his first NHL start this season and made some good pad saves to keep Nashville off the scoreboard.
2. Keith Yandle, PHX… Yandle had one goal and two assists on the night and was solid defensively. He always seems to play very well against the Predators.
3. Nick Johnson, PHX… Johnson notched a goal and an assist for the Coyotes and played a strong all-around game. It was his first goal of the season.