Leave it to the Predators to win 3-0 one night and lose by the exact same score the next night. Not even 24 hours after shutting out the Hurricanes in Raleigh, the Preds gave up three unanswered goals to the Panthers in Miami.
I don't know what it is about relatively inexperienced Florida goalies, but the Preds seem to be exceptionally bad at scoring on them. The Panthers' Chris Driedger played his first full NHL game tonight (he played in three other partial games for Ottawa over the past three seasons) and stopped all 27 of the Preds' shots on goal. If you recall, then-22-year old Sam Montembault stopped 25 of 27 Preds shots during Florida's Oct. 19 shootout win over the Preds in Nashville. Thanks to tonight's implosion, the Preds capped off the season series with Florida with a 0-1-1 record.
Even down 1-0 at the start of the third period, the Preds still looked like they could make things interesting. Right around the time one began thinking, "Hey, now would be a great time for a goal, guys," Anton Stralman tallied his second of the night.
Then, right when one had the thought, "I mean, we've overcome a two-goal deficit no problem before," Alexander Barkov smiled gently upon Preds fans and said, "Not tonight."
As with last night, the game before that, and the game before that one, the Preds failed to score on any of their power play chances. But, as with all of those games, the Preds also successfully killed the all of the opposition's power play chances. We were all joking when we said you could only have one: a good power play or a good penalty kill. Apparently the joke fell flat on these Preds.
Contrary to the number on the scoreboard, the Preds did in fact exert some degree of an effort tonight. Filip Forsberg tried his hardest to erase the donut, putting seven individual shots on net. Ryan Ellis blocked six Panthers shots, Calle Jarnkrok notched three takeaways, and Austin Watson delivered three hits.
The problem is, the Preds struggled handsomely in producing high-quality, high-danger scoring chances. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Preds recorded just four high-danger shots tonight, compared to Florida's eight. According to the heat map below, all of the Panthers' goals (and, concurrently, most of their shot attempts) came from within very close range of Juuse Saros. Most of the Preds' shots came from the left point near the blue line- not a very likely scoring spot, to say the least.
The Preds will be back in Nashville on Tuesday to take on the Lightning.