At least it was only by one goal tonight. The Jets handed the Preds a 2-1 home loss, marking their fifth consecutive defeat.
Five losses later, the Preds are sitting in sixth place in the Central Division. The only team lower than them is Minnesota. They've dropped to 22nd overall in the league, utterly flat-lining since the Detroit game on Nov. 4.
This string of highly unfortunate, disappointing games really begs the question: What the hell?
Yeah, our goaltending is pretty bad. We're 26th overall in team save percentage- neither Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros are breaking .900. To make matters worse, it kind of seems like every opposing NHL goalie is having the game of his life against the Preds this season. Connor Hellebuyck made 38 saves on 39 shots tonight, Robin Lehner made 39 on 41 for Chicago on Saturday, Thatcher Demko made 34 on 37 for Vancouver last Tuesday, and Alexandar Georgiev made 32 on 33 for New York on Nov. 2. Those aren't stats to just shrug shoulders at.
The Preds aren't at the bottom of any statistical category, and besides goaltending, they're still putting up fairly decent numbers. Frustrating as it is to say, the problem has to be mental. The first line (whichever combo Peter Laviolette cooks up that day) is virtually nonexistent. The last time any one of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg, Matt Duchene, or Viktor Arvidsson scored was the Nov. 9 shootout loss to San Jose, in which Forsberg tallied the lone Preds goal of the night. The last time Arvidsson scored was Oct. 22. Johansen, Oct. 10.
This mental slide needs to be quashed. As stated in my previous article, it might mean the sacking of a coach or two. The Preds will take on Vancouver this Thursday at home. Playing a team that lost in even worse fashion (6-1 against Dallas) than you did tonight would be a perfect opportunity to capitalize on that embarrassment. Arvy, Joey? I hope you're listening.