2016-2017 Season Breakdown: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators
Tampa lost both match ups by a considerable margin to the eventual Western Conference champs. What went wrong?
November 21st, 2016: Nashville 3 Tampa Bay 1
Preview by @tanyarezak, Walk the (blue) line
“Katya Knappe, in her Predators-vs-Leafs preview, expanded upon this idea to cover the first half of November. She answered the “what is wrong with the Predators?” question by looking at high-danger shots. Much like Yost, she explains that although the team used to be really good at gaining possession of the puck and shooting it, and allowing incredibly few high-danger shots to get through to Pekka Rinne, they no longer play at this level.”
Recap by @Bethelhub, Bolts lose a messy game, 3-1 to Predators
“Throughout the first 20 minutes Tampa Bay just couldn’t get anything going. Playing the last game of a five game road trip, the Lightning seemed sluggish right out of the gate. The period seemed littered with careless turnovers and missed opportunities, and neither team had any large offensive possession times. The period was for the most part quiet offensively, and the shots total didn't breach ten until about 15 minutes into the frame.”
January 5th, 2017: Nashville 6 Tampa Bay 1
Preview by @iActium, A dangerous foray
“The Lightning last played the Predators back on November 21, in Nashville, losing 3-1. It was close for a little bit, but the Preds essentially got the lead and choked the life out of the Lightning to win. Since then the Predators have gone 7-8-4 and are currently in 4th place in the Central, with 39 points in 37 games sitting six behind the St. Louis Blues. They’re closer to a Wild Card berth, as they are behind the Calgary Flames by 3 points.
“By advanced metrics they look to be a strong team, they’re 5th in Corsi For % as of this writing, but the results just haven’t been there. Early in the season goaltending was an issue, but now the issue isn’t as clear. In their last 10 games, they’ve scored 25 goals and allowed 24 and have gone 4-5-1 over that span. Looking at the numbers it’s like the Predators just don’t know how to stay consistent.”
Recap by @GeoFitz4, Tampa Bay Lightning drop third game in a row as Philadelphia Flyers win 4-2 (From series of games near Preds game date.)
“This season is going nowhere, and going there fast. In his post game comments, Cooper blamed a lack of passion for going to the front of the net for scoring chances and too many bad turnovers. Same story, different game. Nothing has changed and it doesn’t look like anything is changing. The Lightning are digging themselves a hole with their play that they are not going to be able to crawl out of without a Columbus style winning streak. And it might take two of those to get back into the playoff picture if it doesn’t happen soon. And by soon I mean starting tomorrow against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Vasilevskiy looks tired. This is the most he has played, perhaps going back to when he was playing in Russia. The fact Cooper hasn’t pulled him at any point during the past three games with first, Kristers Gudlevskis, and now, Adam Wilcox backing him up says something. With a back-to-back here, and then three days off, I’m hoping that Cooper will decide to give him a rest. He needs it. He needs time to recover. Please Cooper, save Vasilevskiy.”
Goals: Tyler Johnson (2)
Assists: Victor Hedman (2), Alex Killorn (1), Nikita Kucherov (1)
Nov 21, Ben Bishop - .900 SV% (3 goals on 30 shots)
Andrei Vasilevskiy - .722 SV% (5 goals on 18 shots)
Did Nashville Hurt or Help the Lightning this season?
The Predators outplayed the Bolts for basically six total periods and really put down the hammer. The 3-1 game was particularly excruciating, but remember the context of that match up. it was the end of a five-game road trip in which the Bolts garnered eight of ten total points. Definitely in context not very worrisome. A snippet from that recap:
“All in all the team just seemed tired. In conjunction with injuries mounting and calls not going their way, the Bolts looked to get out of this game, recoup, and get home happy with an eight-point road trip.”
The other match up, the 6-1 loss, was definitely alarming and raised some eyebrows at the time. Vasy was being overplayed and Tampa Bay lost ten of thirteen games in January. Let that sink in. February was a mixed bag of wins and loses, and March was a terrific month, but January really doomed the Bolts for the rest of the year.
Two games after the 6-1 Nashville game, the Bolts lost to the Penguins and arrived at 19-19-4, which realistically is a sub .500 record. In comparison, the Bolts won nine out of eleven games in the 2015-2016 January. And of course there were a myriad of issues the Bolts were having at the time, but this was really when the wheels started to fall off.
Dear Predators, you did not help the Lightning’s season, but that’s okay, they weren’t helping themselves either.
Not much going for the Bolts in this series, so here’s a few nice lowlights of them breaking coverage in the defensive zone. And conversely some nice shots by Nashville.
Arvi-licious! #Preds #TBLvsNSH pic.twitter.com/LJjQUirKBW— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) November 22, 2016
P.K. Subban GOAL (1 of at least 2)!! #Preds #TBLvsNSH pic.twitter.com/Vpe4nHANfj— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) November 22, 2016