Headed in to the post season, the Nashville Predators were considered a serious threat, but for the second straight year they failed to get past the second round. What went wrong? How did a team that looked so good coming in come apart in the post season? How can the problems be fixed?
The first glaring issue was overall team focus. After a game two loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in round two, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn broke the team’s curfew rules and were sat out of games three and four. Both are players that the team needed focused on winning. Just how big of an issue focus was and whether or not it spread further than Radulov and Kostitsyn is hard to tell, but it seems to have factored in to the Preds demise.
Another problem was the lack of consistent production from big name players like Fisher, Erat, and Weber, who combined to add just 11 points in 10 games. The Problem was not as evident in the first round victory over the Detroit Red Wings because of the strong supporting cast of players like Bourque and Klein, who stepped up when the team needed it most. In round two, the lack of production from the big names once again became an issue as the team was shutout twice and held to two or less in the final three games of the series. When they were fighting for their playoff lives, the big guns came up empty. In fact, the lone game Nashville won in the series was a 2-0 victory at home in game 3 in which Mike Fisher scored. Fisher failed to light the lamp in every other game in the series and it they were defeated.
Andrew is Blue Jackets correspondent and an up and coming writer planning on a long career in the hockey world. His eventual goal is to be a play by play broadcaster.