Kostitsyn’s bonehead move proves to be costly

(Photo by: Andy Devlin/Getty Images)

The Nashville Predators return to the United States with nothing positive coming out of their Western Canadian road trip. They lost their third in-a-row to the Edmonton Oilers, 3-2 on St. Patrick's Day. “Instead of finding ways to win games, we are finding way to lose them. It isn’t good enough,” said goal scorer Roman Josi.

Nashville can’t seem to capitalize on their scoring chances. So often are their shots missing the net either wide or sailing over. No doubt, the Preds played a good game, but they couldn’t play a whole 60 minutes. The team appeared to be quite frustrated after the final horn as Roman Josi hit the puck in frustration and David Legwand broke his stick over the Nashville net.

It is unsure what is next for this club, but something will change by the time they play their next home game, which isn’t until Thursday. Read the full recap after the jump.

The first period was scoreless, but that didn’t mean both teams were unable to generate chances. Throughout the second half of the first, the Predators and Oilers were switching off chances by going back-and-forth.

Pekka Rinne had to bail his teammates out once again after an ugly turnover by Gabriel Bourque to Jordan Eberle in the Nashville zone. Eberle was able to go one on one with Rinne and get a shot off with him moving, but was stopped. “They’ll take advantage of you if you turn pucks over in the open ice,” said associate coach Peter Horachek. Luckily, it wasn’t the case during that particular play.

Nashville hit a few posts that came back to bite them later on. Roman Josi was first when he was on a 3-on-1. Gabriel Bourque had an open shooting lane, but decided to pass to a breaking Josi, who one-timed the shot off the post. That kept the Predators off the scoreboard in the first.

Magnus Paajarvi was able to break the ice 8:11 into the second period on the power play. Ryan Whitney’s shot from the blue line left a rebound for Jordan Eberle, who passed to an open Paajarvi at the top of the crease. With Rinne down and out, Paajarvi slid the puck into the net.

Mike Fisher fell victim to another post breaking on Devan Dubnyk. Fisher came down the right side and shot far side off corner where the post and crossbar meet. However, later on, Shea Weber was able to make up for it on the power play. At 16:37, Roman Josi fed the captain at the point, who was able to fly the shot past Dubnyk’s rising blocker and into the net to tie the game at one.

Being tied entering the third, the Predators were tired of losing and wanted to win. They entered into the period after the intermission with a purpose of an all-out attack. Nashville was able to generate a large amount of chances, but was unable to capitalize.

The turning point happened 7:58 in as Mark Fistric laid a big hit on Craig Smith entering the Edmonton zone. Fistric was the same player who gave Weber a concussion last season against the Dallas Stars around Christmas time.

Leonard Petrell scored shorthanded to take the lead following a turnover by Sergei Kostitsyn. Sam Gagner picked the puck up and broke in on a 2-on-1. Gagner passed to Petrell who one-timed the shot over a sliding Rinne. (More down the page).

Head coach Barry Trotz called a timeout soon after the goal, but proved not to help as the Oilers extended their lead to two at 15:49. Eberle had all the time in the world to shoot breaking into the zone, allowing him to snipe Rinne blocker side.

The Predators didn’t go without a fight as with 2:12 remaining, Rinne was pulled for the extra attacker. The Preds generated an abundance of chances, but were unable to get one through Dubnyk until it was too late. With 9.2 left on the clock, Josi was able to rip a shot past Dubnyk from the high slot. But again, it was too little, too late as the Oilers won the game 3-2.

Line Up Report

Starting Goaltenders:

Name SV SH Goals Allowed SV % Decision TOI
#35 Pekka Rinne 18 21 3 .857 LOSS 57:25
#40 Devan Dubnyk 29 31 2 .953 WIN 60:00

Predators Scratches: #17 C Chris Mueller, #23 W Zack Boychuk and #28 C Paul Gaustad (upper body injury)

Oilers Scratches: #24 D Theo Peckham, #44 D Corey Potter and #56 C Teemu Hartikainen

Trotz goes with 7 D: In the past two games, the Predators have given up a total of thirteen goals. The defense has been leaving Pekka Rinne out to dry. In order to bolster up the defense, head coach Barry Trotz elected to go with seven defensemen entering the game.

It turned out to be the correct decision in two ways. One, Scott Hannan was injured, which allowed another defenseman to come in with ease, and it limited the opponent’s scoring down to three, opposed to five or seven.

Hannan injured: With 2:39 remaining in the first period, Scott Hannan saw his last shift of the game. In the second period, the Nashville Predators reported that he wouldn’t return due to an upper body injury. Not many people saw what caused it, but it will be interesting what is revealed later on.

Inexcusable (Opinonated): At 10:53 of the third period, Leonard Petrell scored a shorthanded goal that gave his team a 2-1 lead at the time.

Prior to the goal, the Predators were running a scrambling power play because no one could handle the puck well. An attempted cross-ice saucer to Sergei Kostitsyn at the point hopped over his stick and left the zone. Kostitsyn and penalty killer Sam Gagner were in a race for the puck.

Gagner won the battle, but instead of Kostitsyn continuing with the play to disrupt anything the Oilers’ forwards could be setting up, he stopped at the bench and looked on while Gagner crossed the blue line.

With Gagner having all the time in the world and surprised by the lack of pressure, he was able to give a perfect pass to Petrell to score a shorthanded goal.

Following the goal, Trotz gave Kostitsyn only two shifts with ten minutes left to play.

I have never seen anything like what I saw just then. A player completely giving up on a play in the NHL is unheard of. This was an inexcusable mistake that proved to be costly later on. Anyone who gives up on a play in NHL should be shipped out to the KHL, or wherever he chooses, especially under Trotz’s system which excels under hard work and determination.

General Manager David Poile will have to do something about the struggling forward as he has lost many Preds fans’ respect, including mine. Kostitsyn has been mediocre this season and that type of play should have no room on the Nashville roster.

Goals and Assists

1-0 EDM: PP Magnus Paajarvi – Eberle and Whitney at 8:11 in the 2nd

1-1 Tied: PP Shea Weber – Josi and Smith at 16:37 in the 2nd

2-1 EDM: SH Leonard Petrell – Gagner at 10:53 in the 3rd

3-1 EDM: Jordan Eberle – Hall at 15:48 in the 3rd

3-2 EDM: Roman Josi – Fisher and Butler at 19:50 in the 3rd

My Three Stars of the Game

1. Jordan Eberle: Goal & Assist

2. Devan Dubnyk: Win and stopped 29 shots

3. Roman Josi: Goal & Assist