The Nashville Predators are in a funk of all funks right now. Losers of five straight games, the Preds have yet to win a game in North America after winning the first two games of the season in Europe. Their current losing streak is also the longest losing streak for the Preds under John Hynes, surpassing two separate four game losing streaks from February 2022.
But that’s not all!
In this losing streak, the Preds have:
- Blown a two goal lead in the 3rd period… twice
- Been outscored 21 to 9
- Scored only twice on the power play in 22 attempts
- Collected 67 penalty minutes (13.4 minutes per game)
They’ve somehow managed to not sink to the bottom of the Central Division, currently sitting in 5th place above Minnesota and Arizona.
But, folks, it’s bad. Real bad.
The Preds are not good at anything right now. The power play is terrible. The offense stinks. The defense is leaky. Even Juuse Saros, usually their singular hope for finding wins when they seem impossible, has been extremely average: out of 63 goalies to play at least one game this year, he ranks 35th in save percentage (.908) at five on five.
The pairing of Mattias Ekholm and Ryan McDonagh has been among the worst in the league at allowing quality scoring chances. Out of 96 defense pairs skating at least 30 even strength minutes, McDonagh and Ekholm rank 89th in expected goals allowed.
The top line with Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg, and Mikael Granlund have not come close to producing like they did last season. Through seven games, they’ve scored four goals combined, one of which was an empty netter. All for only $20.5 million.
The rest of the forwards aren’t much better, with no one really standing out among the group. Even the team’s best overall skater, Roman Josi, has only one assist through seven games.
If anyone can find one single thing the Nashville Predators are good at, let me know. I certainly don’t see anything.
Except for this…
Preds allowing goals to unlikely players
One thing the Nashville Predators have done exceptionally well this year is allow goals to players who don’t usually score goals.
As I pointed out here, the Preds have allowed six players to score who have fewer than 14 career goals in the NHL:
Six players with fewer than 14 career goals have all scored against the Nashville Predators this year:— Alex Daugherty (@AlexDaugherty1) October 25, 2022
Look at those names for a second.
Really take in the anonymity of the group.
Wyatt Johnston scored his first career goal. Nick Blankenburg scored his second career goal. Jake Bean scored his first of the year, well on his way to a career season high of seven goals in a season.
Matt Roy scored career goals #11 and #12 in the 3rd period against the Preds, fueling the Kings come from behind win. 29-year-old Justin Danforth and 26-year-old Zack MacEwan also scored key goals against the Preds.
Those are not NHL All-Stars. They aren’t even every day NHL players. Most of those guys are not likely to start more than half of their team’s games this year.
But against the Nashville Predators? They are finding plenty of space to score important goals for their team, ripping home go-ahead goals and ripping out the hearts of Preds fans.
Is this a problem specific to the Preds? Hard to say. Most likely not, but it could be that the Predators are so far behind in their development as a team this year that they have not had time to fully prepare for their opponents. It could be that the defense is not fully structured yet, with one major addition in Ryan McDonagh and one major switch in Mattias Ekholm. It could also just be bad luck.
Whatever the reason, the Nashville Predators desperately need to get back on track. With two games at home against the St. Louis Blues and Washington Capitals, both of whom have better records than the Preds, that’s not going to be an easy task.
Which previously anonymous member of the Blues and Capitals are most likely to get on the scoresheet against the Preds this week? Calle Rosen with only three career goals? Aliaksei Protas with four career goals? Beck Malenstyn? Niko Mikkola?
Stay tuned this week to find out!
— Featured image via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports —