The Nashville Predators are a train wreck right now.

Even if you haven’t watched a single game, their record would tell you as much. They have only three wins in ten games total, only one win in their last eight games. Their most recent embarrassment came in Edmonton last night, a 7-4 loss to the Oilers.

While their four goal output on the offensive end was not a bad result, it was the defense that was truly atrocious.

How bad was it? Let’s break it down.

The first goal: Preds weak transition game

Though the Preds actually had a 1-0 lead in this game when Mattias Ekholm put in a rebound just 34 seconds into the game, the Oilers’ counter attacking game was no match for the Preds early on.

A poor pass by Nashville led to a breakout for Edmonton. With Leon Draisatl skating out wide on the attack, the backchecking forwards, including Matt Duchene, completely lost Evander Kane on the backside. A brilliant pass by Draisaitl found Kane completely uncovered in the slot and he put home the first of his three goals on the night.

This is just poor execution in transition for Nashville. When you turn the puck over at one end, you have to immediately transition to defense, even in the neutral zone. Duchene covered no one on the left as McDonagh and Forsberg tried to corral Draisaitl on the right. His pass was incredible, no doubt, but if Kane is marked even a little bit, the pass is intercepted easily.

This is one area the Preds have been terrible in early on: transitions. Whether building towards an attack or dropping back to defend a counter, the Preds have been bad, bad in this area. And they are especially susceptible to teams, like the Oilers, with effective transition games.

The second goal: what the &@%# was that?

Seriously, what the &@%# is this?

There are so many unproductive things going on here. Let’s start with Mikael Granlund’s “assignment” as the center of this line. Normally he would be responsible for marking anyone who comes free in the slot, but he seems to be roaming about. Chasing the puck around hopelessly, reaching for pucks he has no business getting to. Which is exactly what the Oilers want, as it opens up the middle of the ice.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Lauzon is barely moving as he’s watching the Oilers chip the puck around. Ryan McDonagh is spun around so many times in the lower right slot, I’m sure he woke up dizzy this morning. He also manages to screen/bump Juuse Saros right at the point of attack, giving Kane the perfect angle to find the net.

This wasn’t at the end of a terribly long shift, mind you. That line was out there for about a minute, maybe a few seconds more. They look exhausted, but I think that’s just confusion in disguise.

If anyone can identify a reasonable defensive tactic in that video above, please tweet at me.

The third goal: Connor McDavid vs. Dante Fabbro

Does this really need much more explanation?

Connor McDavid is a world class hockey player who is bound for the Hall of Fame. Dante Fabbro is a serviceable defenseman with more offense in his game than defense (but not that much more).

McDavid is playing on rookie mode against Fabbro here:

(Ok, in Fabbro’s defense, that’s a goal Juuse Saros probably stops more often than not. He doesn’t usually get beat five hole… but still, Fabbro had no chance stopping McDavid from getting a quality shot off)

The fourth goal: another empty back door

At some point the Preds switched to a man to man defense in their own zone (or maybe they were trying that from the beginning, just very poorly?) and it led directly to the Oilers’ fourth goal.

With Mattias Ekholm following Tyson Barrie around the zone, Barrie buys enough time for Derek Ryan to find a backdoor seam to the net. Eeli Tolvanen was the man responsible for Ryan on the play.

This was a really well executed play by the Oilers. I would go so far as to say they probably score this goal against most defensive teams. Just an excellent read by Barrie and a well-timed attack by Ryan.

The 5th and 6th goals: This is what a power play should look like

Somehow the Nashville Predators managed toΒ lower the Edmonton Oilers’ season power play percentage despite giving up two power play goals.

Heading into last night, the Oilers were operating at a 34% clip, but only went 2-for-6 in the game. Chalk one up for the Preds!

But watching the two goals they scored really make you admire what a power play should look like. In this first goal, a faceoff win puts Connor McDavid in perfect position for an unblocked shot on Juuse Saros.

Really well designed play to put McDavid in perfect position to capitalize on a faceoff win.

On the Oilers’ second power play goal, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins found the smallest of openings between Roman Josi’s attempted pass block, leading to yet another Leon Draisaitl goal against the Nashville Predators.

Draisaitl has 19 career goals in 20 games against the Preds. That’s insane.

The 7th goal: Preds’ empty net

It’s quite possible that if the Nashville Predators had played with an empty net the entire game, last night’s contest would have been just as competitive. Not to say that Juuse Saros was awful or anything, it’s just that if the Preds had played with any urgency at all in their own zone, maybe they could have stopped a few more pucks. An empty net might have inspired them, or at least reminded them that the other team is also trying to score goals.

If the Preds have any desire at all to be competitive this season (and maybe they shouldn’t? More on that later) they need to fix some of these defensive problems. Their next attempt comes Thursday against the 9th best offense in the league, the Calgary Flames.

— Featured image via Perry Nelson/USA TODAY Sports —