Slow start in Game 1 dooms the Predators

By Ben Sundock
Aug. 03, 2020

Despite being the higher seed in the qualifying series against the Arizona Coyotes, the Nashville Predators did not look like the sixth overall seed in the Western Conference.

In the opening game of the best-of-five series, Arizona jumped out to a three goal lead in the first period and the Preds were never able to claw all the way back.

A brilliant showing from the JoFA line and plenty of shots on goal couldn't help the Preds salvage game one.

Cheers to the JoFA line!

The biggest news out of camp in Nashville before the team traveled to Edmonton was that head coach John Hynes had paired three of the fans' favorite players - Viktor Arviddson, Filip Forsberg, and Ryan Johansen - back together to rekindle that magic the three developed together over the last few seasons.

Well, so far so good!

In the exhibition game against Dallas, both of the goals came from the first line and in the first game of the series against Arizona, all three goals came from the top line again.

Forsberg has been on fire since arriving in Edmonton. He had two assists in the first game and he had two great goals in the loss on Sunday. Filip is a great finisher, but he can also be selfish when he needs to be - which I like. He had seven shots on goal which was the highest of any player in the game.

Ryan Johansen is still not playing like himself, however, there are some positive signs. Joey won almost 60 percent of his faceoffs - the second highest win rate on the team - and had two shots on goal.

Lines two through four need to step up in game two, but nothing needs to change with the top line.

Don't give up on Juuse

Juuse did not play well at the beginning of Game 1. Take away that first period where he allowed three goals on 14 shots and the goalie was solid.

He faced 37 shots and stopped 33. That first goal should never have happened and completely changed the flow of the game. Forsberg did no favors in helping the man in net as it was his giveaway that allowed Michael Grabner to score on a breakaway.

I wouldn't be surprised if Pekka Rinne started Game 2, but I still have faith in Saros' ability. He is quality and is the future in goal for the Preds.

Small mistakes in the playoffs lead to defeat

The circumstances are very different this year, but, the playoffs are the playoffs.

The Predators had one unlucky bounce go against them and made a mistake in the second period. This was the difference.

The deflection off of Matt Duchene that somehow bounced in the goal changed the mindset of the players and they started to get nervous towards the end of that first period and took several bad penalties.

The Coyotes did well to capitalize on the mistakes and the breakaway by Grabner to put Arizona up 4-1 midway through the second was the nail in the coffin. If the Predators can get off to a better start in Game 2, they have the firepower and talent to win three straight.

Let's get ready to go again Tuesday folks.