Predators-Avalanche: Nashville Snowed, Pekka Rinne Shows Some Cracks

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 30, 2008

Another road game for the Nashville Predators.

Another dismal performance by the Predators goalie—and offense.

Only this time it wasn't Dan Ellis; it was the thus far solid Pekka Rinne who gave up the ghost.

Coming off of a 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night, Nashville continued its road losing streak by falling to the Colorado Avalanche 5-1 on Monday night.

Rinne, who so far this season has been the model of consistency, was only able to stop 16 of 21 shots on goal, and the Predators were only able to add one point of their own, with captain Jason Arnott scoring on a power play at 9:17 in the second period.

The fact that Nashville was actually able to score on a power play is the only good thing to come out of this game. Everything else points to the Predators entering the new year on a fast road to failure.

Losers of six out of their last 10, Nashville has been outscored 28-16 by their opponents. With a similar number of shots on goal—273 by Nashville vs. 280 by their opponents—you would think that the Predators would be more competitive, but they aren't.

At least not on paper.

The facts are, Nashville is losing ground in the playoff race, and with at least a half a dozen teams jockeying for position to grab the eighth and final playoff spot, points are at a premium. If Nashville can't figure out a way to get the puck in the net, they will find themselves on the outside looking in.

However, It's not all the fault of the goalie of course. There are other guys in skates out there whose job it is to keep the puck away from their net. But Nashville's defense seems more interested in hitting opposing players than in controlling the puck.

Let's readjust the priorities, guys; pummeling the opponent is fine, as long as we are winning. But while Jordan Tootoo is missing checks and falling in the opponents' bench, Nashville goalies are finding themselves having to carry too much of the load.