Predators Unable to Capitalize on Opportunities; Shutout by Coyotes

Written by Frank Castaldi on .

Just over 16 minutes ticked away off the clock in the second period, before the Phoenix Coyotes were able to muster up their first real, quality offensive shift. While clinging to a one-goal lead, the Coyotes and Mike Smith dodged a plethora of bullets thrown their way by the Predators' offense in the second.

Literally, dodged.

The Predators, while dominating the play for the majority of the second period, were their own worst enemy. Quality chance after quality chance was wasted away by the Predators from their inability to simply put the puck on net.

Maybe the Preds figured since they can't put a puck past Smith when the shot is actually on net, maybe shooting over the four-by-six cage would create some sort of parallel-universe alternate reality, where you score goals by missing the net.

Whatever the case, Nashville now finds themselves on the wrong end of a 3-1 series, ultimately fighting for their playoff lives when play continues, Monday night in Glendale.

Patric Hornqvist, who had 342 golden scoring opportunities over the course of the game (seriously, go check the stats, 342), could have not only tied the game for his team, but given them a one-,two-, hell even a three-goal lead had he just converted.

Much like the goal Mike Smith allowed in Game 3, where he completely muffed playing the puck behind the net, Smith was again on the receiving end of a mishap on a dump-in.

After attempting to glove down a lofted dump in, Smith handed Hornqvist the puck on a silver platter, only to have the 25-year old Swede shoot the puck right over top the crossbar.

Hornqvist wasn't done causing the catfish-wielding Predator fans to pull their hair out, however.

Just minutes later, Hornqvist, standing all alone on the top of the crease, once again failed to knot the game at 1, when he shanked a beautiful feed from David Legwand just wide of the net.

The final buzzer ultimately sounded with the Coyotes successfully clinging on to the one-goal margin, which captain Shane Doan awarded them with in the first period.

Too bad the Predators didn't have any goal scorers just waiting to play... Oh, wait.

For the second consecutive game, Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn sat high above, watching the game from the sky-box with the rest of us scratches.

After serving their one-game suspension for celebrating the two-game defecit their team was in just a little too hard, Radulov and Kostitsyn were questionable for returning to the lineup Friday night for Game 4.

Hindsight, maybe head coach Barry Trotz should have changed his "winning formula." I mean, after all, Radulov is leading the Predators in points during the playoffs with six. While Kostitsyn is leading the team in goals with three.

I understand sending a message to your players, but in the end, it's all about winning.

Winning is something the Predators--whom many picked to come out of the West heading into the postseason--now must do on an every-game basis.

Starting Monday night at the Arena; A task the Preds have yet to achieve.


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