Goals are hard to come by these days for the Nashville Predators. If they don’t find a way to score some soon they will see what was intended to be the Predators deepest team in franchise history stumble in the 2nd Round of the Stanley cup playoffs.
All of the credit in the world should be given to Mike Smith and the Phoenix Coyotes. They have had better goaltending,way better defense and are putting the puck in the net. To go further Mike Smith is red hot as he hasn’t gave up a goal in over five periods of hockey.
The Predators are down 3 games to 1 and turn to survival mode to save their season. To do so the Predators will have to a few things:
1. Make some lineup changes: The Spaling, Bourque and company line isn’t producing like it did in the Red Wings Series. Also, Alexander Radulov (brought in to score goals) and Andre Kostitsyn (also brought in to score) have been suspended and scratched the previous two games for behavior issues. If I was the coach I would put both of these guys in (especially Radulov) and mix the lines up.
2. Utilize Free Agent Pickups: The Nashville Predators acquired Center Paul Gaustad during the trade deadline to dominate the face-off circle. He has done that for the Predators during the regular season and for most of the playoffs. The man is the best at taking faceoffs but saw little ice time in the 3rd period of game 3. Gaustad isn’t known for his offensive #’s BUT I think the Predators could pair him with the right amount of offense to utilize his talents in clutch situations.
3. Keep up the strong defense: The Predators defense has improved over the past two games. The Predators want the same defensive game that they had in Game 4 in Nashville where the Predators had a lead early and allowed their defense to take over and slow the game down to the pace the Predators enjoy when they have a lead. Look for Weber and Suter to log a ridiculous amount of minutes in Game 5 as the Predators fight for their lives in what could be both defensemen’s last game.
Overall, the Nashville Predators had one mission comming into the playoffs and that was silence critics and prove that they are Stanley Cup contenders. If they attend to do that then they will have to dig real deep and pull out what some would deem a “miracle”.