This season sucks so far, but today sucked a little more. The Predators lost 4-2 to the Stars in the Winter Classic in front of 85,000 fans today, allowing four unanswered goals- each one more sloppily defended and goaltended than the last. This is the Preds' third loss in a row.
So much for turning over a new leaf in 2020. The Preds got off to a great start, scoring two power play goals before the halfway point of the first period- the first from Matt Duchene and the next from Dante Fabbro. The feeling of seeing the Preds score the first two goals in their very first outdoor game was a glorious one. Then, the complacency bug bit the Preds' bench yet again.
The third period was especially atrocious. The defense looked as if they couldn't even process the Stars becoming more aggressive on offense. Before the Preds could say "Winter Classic", the Stars had gone from a 2-1 deficit to stepping all over them and winning the game 4-2. From a Preds fan that was in the Cotton Bowl, it was excruciating to live through.
The Preds' two power play goals, of course, came at a cost. The Stars' game-tying and lead-taking goals both came on power plays, scoring on two of their three PP opportunities. The Preds have a real knack for allowing opposing players to score their first goals of the season on them. Today, that lucky guy was Andrej Sekera. On Friday, it was Pittsburgh's Juuso Riikola. Boston's Par Lindholm scored his second of the season against the Preds on Dec. 21. Dallas' Jamie Oleksiak got his in the Dec. 14 game. Florida's Anton Stralman scored his first and second in the game on Nov. 30.
Pekka Rinne shone in the first 30 minutes of the game, but collapsed along with his defense. He finished the game with a .886 save percentage.
Corey Perry- one of the most hated men in Davidson County- seems to have successfully bridged his dirty Anaheim tomfoolery into Dallas tomfoolery. Mr. Perry took exception to Ryan Ellis innocuously setting up a shot at the blue line, shooting an elbow directly at Ellis' face that rapidly snapped his neck around. Ellis left the ice after fewer than three minutes into the game, and Perry was ejected.
Taking a look at today's shot map, the Preds had a slightly better spread than Dallas, which provided them with the Corsi advantage for the game. However, Rinne let in two too many soft goals at too-close range from the crease.
We lost the Winter Classic. But, in this time of fan frustration and organizational indifference, we have to take the few good things and run with them. Roman Josi extended his point streak to eight games. The Preds scored on the power play, and it prevented them from getting shut out in the franchise's first outdoor game. It's the little things, I guess.
The Preds will head back inside on Saturday to play the Kings in Los Angeles. The Kings are 17-21-4 and sit third from the bottom in the Pacific Division with 38 points (like we can even talk). They are tied with the Stars for the sixth-fewest goals-for in the league, totaling 109 apiece. They are also tied with Florida for the sixth-most goals-against in the league, totaling 131 so far this season.