Predators Struggling For Answers After 5 Straight Losses

The Nashville Predators have struggled since returning from their wins over the San Jose Sharks at the NHL Global Series. After losing to the Philadelphia Flyers last Saturday (Oct. 15), the Predators have lost five straight games. Part of the issue is not that they lost, but how they lost games that has many concerned. They are now searching for answers to turn things around.

Predators Are Squandering Leads

You might be just a little forgiving for the loss to the Flyers on Oct. 22, who have found some energy and enthusiasm under new head coach John Tortorella. Carter Hart dominated in net, stopping 31 of 32 shots, spoiling the first Saturday night contest in Smashville. Further dampening everyone’s spirits was the injury to defenseman Mark Borowiecki, who had to be taken off on a stretcher. Fortunately, he was discharged from Vanderbilt University Medical Center late on Oct. 22 after awkwardly hitting the boards. He suffered no major injuries, the Predators said in a statement Sunday, Oct. 24.

Juuse Saros Mark Borowiecki Nick Foligno
Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Mark Borowiecki and Juuse Saros of the Nashville Predators (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

One of the bigger issues for the Predators is they have not played well in the third period during their five-game losing streak. They blew two leads in the loss to Columbus and lost another lead in the shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings. Head coach John Hynes gave his take on what happened in the Blue Jackets’ loss.

“We gave up seven odd-man rushes, five 5-on-5 and two on the power play. Tonight in particular, our puck decisions and our puck play were lacking, and our attention to detail without the puck was lacking. And when you want to play that type of game, odds are you’re going to lose.”

That lack of detail has led to the Predators being near the bottom of the NHL in goals scored, shots on goal, power play, and shooting percentage. This led Hynes to change his usual forward line combinations for the Flyers game in an attempt to get some extra energy and chemistry from this group. For example, the “Herd Line” was broken up, as Yakov Trenin was moved up to the second line with Ryan Johansen and Nino Niederreiter. While these changes seemed to help the Predators, the result was still a loss. Hopefully, changing lines and shaking things up will eventually lead to some wins.

One of the side effects of this sloppy play has seen the Predators give up quite a few goals late in periods. When Matt Roy of the Kings tied that game with 2:08 remaining, it was the fourth late-period goal they had given up in their first five games. Giving up goals late in periods is a momentum killer, and they leave a bad taste throughout the intermission that lingers into the following period. The lack of consistency for long stretches in periods and games is something that needs to be turned around in Smashville.

Too Many Penalties

One of the bigger issues that the Predators have had in this young season is that they have committed either too many penalties or penalties at inopportune times. As of Sunday, the Predators lead the NHL in total penalty minutes with 88. Giving teams this many power-play opportunities will lead to goals and keep you from going on the offense. That has been a big part of the problem during their five-game losing streak.

Tanner Jeannot Nashville Predators
Tanner Jeannot, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Conversely, the Predators have not done well while they are on the power play. Going into the Flyers game last Saturday night, they had been successful in only one of their 26 power plays. They only scored their second power-play goal of the year when Matt Duchene scored in the third period of the Flyers game. We know the power play can be better, as the Predators were the fifth-best team in scoring power-play goals in 2021-22.

Predators Are Saying All the Right Things

After losing to the Flyers, Predators captain Roman Josi remained positive about the team’s direction. “We had a lot of good looks, and they didn’t go in, but you just have to focus on the process. You can’t get too caught up with the score. I thought that we did a pretty good job tonight. And I think it was a good step in the right direction.” Josi also felt that the team played better physically and was more aggressive throughout the game.

Roman Josi Nashville Predators
Roman Josi, Nashville Predators (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Colton Sissons talked about what the team needs to do to be successful. “We’ve just got to be more poised, more confident in our game, even when teams bringing all that pressure. We can make plays without a lot of time and space and just trusting each other.” The players know all too well what they need to do; now it is just a matter of going out and playing the type of game they know they can play.

Related: Nashville More Than a Preseason Game Site for the Lightning

It is probably a good thing that the Predators have four days off before their next game on Thursday (Oct. 27) as the St. Louis Blues head to Smashville. The players will be given some time off to recharge and be able to come back ready to change what has plagued them during this five-game losing streak and get back to playing Predators hockey.

Sign up for our regular 'Predators Newsletter' for all the latest.