In one of previous podcasts, we discussed how games against St. Louis don’t carry the same vitriol as Barrett Jackman, David Backes, TJ Oshie and others have found different sewers to dwell in. Perhaps the Predators can fill the gap that’s currently missing in our dark and empty hearts.
The Predators (when without PK Subban) are a truly unlikeable bunch. From Mike Fisher’s holier than thou silliness to the truly disgusting Mike Ribeiro to David Poile’s self-appointed genius, there is plenty to dislike about the Preds. So it was truly amusing to watch them self-destruct in a very St. Louis-esque meltdown in the last half of the third tonight.
Let’s get to the stuff and things.
–Both teams scored on the power play when they took advantage of over-aggressive penalty killing forwards. In the first period, the Predator forwards kept switching sides in an attempt to disrupt the Hawks cross-ice passing lanes. The only problem when you employ such a defense is if the attacking team is just a little quicker; then it leaves crater sized passing lanes allowing for simple tap-ins.
The Hawks top power play unit is just too good to allow even a sliver of an opening. As we’ve seen since the Islanders game, the Hawks can really whip the puck around the ice if they’re given the opportunity.
In this case, it wasn’t an easy tap-in but rather a Grand Canyon sized shooting lane for Duncan Keith which Artem Anisimov easily tipped past Pekka Rinne.
A similar thing happened in the third period. This time, though, the roles were reversed. For REASONS, Tanner Kero was out there on the penalty kill in a tied game in the third period despite spending the whole year in Rockford. Kero was a touch slow on the rotation thus allowing Eugene from Walking Dead (Ryan Johansen) a huge cross-ice passing lane which started the Nashville scoring play.
–HYPOTHETICAL: If you see a goalie standing in his crease looking to draw any kind of contact, do you:
- A) Avoid the crease at all costs
- B) Skate right through the crease
Despite Craig Smith witnessing one of his teammates toppling over Corey Crawford not 30 seconds before, Smith thought “Why the hell not? Referees always take the side of players when they make contact with goalies.”
100 times out of 100, that is a penalty on the skater; short of the goalie sticking his ass out and throwing an obvious hip check. This didn’t stop Smith and Peter Laviolette from losing their collective minds when they saw the replay. It was even less surprising that the Hawks scored on the ensuing power play.
After that, it was only a matter of time before the Hawks were going to take the lead.
–Vinnie Hinostroza is a right-handed Andrew Ladd in that he will take at least three shots a game where he changes the angle on his shot by dragging into his body before launching it on net. Sooner or later, those shots will start to find the back of the net because they’re tough shots for the goalie to see and they can easily get re-directed through the defensemen’s legs.
–With the Hawks icing a defense that featured Michal Rozsival, a holiday drunk Brent Seabrook and TVR, they were slow enough in any matchup that the Predators could easily take advantage. Sure enough, the Predators spent the majority of the game in the Hawks end. You may want to steer clear of the advanced metrics because the numbers are horrifying.
Website punching bag TVR had a particularly rough game as he was consistently getting beat in and out of his corner, taking penalties where he was reaching for players that blew his doors off and tossing breakout passes in the feet of forwards.
Meanwhile, Michal Kempny looked competent enough in 10 minutes after not playing for two weeks. So of course, that means he won’t play again for another month.
I also have no problem with giving Brian Campbell a night off here or there. Game streak or not, he’ll likely be better in the long run. Maybe they shouldn’t sit him in games against speedy opponents on the road, though. Unless they don’t mind getting outshot 2 to 1.
–Another reason for the Hawks getting skulled in possession was that the third line of Dr. Rasmussen, Kruger and Panik had a very tough start to the game. They got a little better as the game wore on but by that point, the damage was done. Panik was once again dangerous along the wall and when he had enough time to get his shot off.
–Tomorrow sees the Return of Our Very Special Boy. It’ll be an emotional game for us, no doubt.