The first rut the team has faced thus far in the 2015 season ,and even that may be a stretch when we’re talking about 2 games out of 82 or more that will be played. That’s the reality and classic overreaction in professional sports. Nashville is fine, but we will explore a few areas of concern that can be corrected in a simple film session.
A lot of focus will go to the goose egg put up in each of the last two games. Yes, the team has to score in order to win, but the huge amount of shot attempts produced by the Predators will not see the shutout trend continue. We can’t forget this team put up a touchdown with an extra point TWICE the week before. It usually evens out in the end.
This is about a few defensive zone mishaps leading to goals and putting Nashville behind the ball. You’re never going to play a perfect game, but a couple of preventable mistakes can be the difference in coming out with the victory or enduring a loss.
Below is the first goal given up against Columbus just over two minutes into the game. This came from a turnover by Shea Weber along the boards. Not ideal, but at this point everyone seems to be in relatively good position.
Now on the next image, we see way too much overcommitment towards the puck by four Predators. Thus, the puck carrier whips it back down the boards and into open ice.
Finally, the give and go is executed perfectly because it’s a lot easier to skate forward than for the Nashville skaters to turn around and cover the man driving down the slot. No chance for Rinne, and it’s 1-0 Columbus.
Moving on to Saturday night, we look at two goals that might have changed the outcome if played with slightly better positioning. The first comes on 4-2 rush by the Wild that forced Ekholm and Jackman into a tough situation. They start out in great position in the picture below as they look to force the shot from the wing.
Folin fires the puck, and Rinne makes the save. But we all know the play isn’t over. Jackman seems to backtrack a little too much towards the goal line instead of the slot, and Granlund pots home the rebound with ease. Maybe a lack in communication between the unfamiliar pair of Ekholm and Jackman caused the confusion on who’s covering the slot. A very forgivable mistake, either way.
We’re gonna wrap it up with just one picture on the following goal. Minnesota has possession of the puck in the Nashville’s defensive zone and takes advantage of improper positioning by the forwards in white.
They seemed to lack knowledge of who was supposed to cover the high slot and left the opposite defensemen with entirely too much space, so Brodin walked in and fired the puck past Rinne. But again, the trio of Fisher, Hodgson, and Watson aren’t used to being on the ice together and that likely contributed to the mistake.
These very correctable errors should give everyone a good feeling that the team can get back on track. They aren’t getting horribly outplayed, and the goal drought won’t be here long. Nashville will once again begin to compile wins in bunches, and everyone in Smashville can sleep easy at night.