Tonight’s game should be a lesson for the Blues’ offense: you can’t outshoot your opponent and expect to win. A lesson for the defense applies here too: clear the puck or limit second chances. So far, it’s not sinking in. The Blues lead 16-14 in shots on goal, but the Predators are up 2-0 in this important Central Division battle.
The first goal came at 6:59 of the period with a Martin Erat slapper:
Good luck stopping that one. In all seriousness, the Predators run a powerplay the way that the Blues should — and could — do so. Nashville’s second in the NHL on PP% for a reason, and the fluid puck movement and quick adaptation in that sequence showed exactly why.
The other Nashville goal was a clearing issue coupled with some serious lack of awareness of the puck’s location. Mike Fisher potted the Predators’ second goal five and a half minutes after Erat’s:
You can see that the puck was at the feet of Alex Pietrangelo, but in a rare defensive mistake he wasn’t exactly aware of the position of it. Of course, this could’ve been fixed by not allowing so many chances. That’s where the Preds succeed; they rarely allow first chances on Pekka Rinne, let alone second and third. You have to shut the other team down.
Here’s hoping that the Blues figure out how in the world to do that during the first intermission. This could be a long evening otherwise.