The Nashville Predators continue to slog their way through the preseason, this time with a 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on home ice. This makes it three games in a row for a couple of troubling patterns for the Preds: inconsistent offense and sloppy defense.

With their top two defensemen P.K. Subban and Roman Josi not in the lineup, the Predators struggled to get anything going at either end of the ice in the 1st. After some sloppy play in the neutral zone, Warren Foegele made it 1-0 Carolina at 5:37 of the period. The Preds didn’t muster much of a counter punch, taking three penalties later in the period, including two back to back penalties to give Carolina a 5-on-3 power play.

Though the Preds managed to escape the period only down 1-0, they looked fairly lifeless at both ends. Colton Sissons had two chances, but didn’t really come close to scoring on goalie Scott Darling.

It was more of the same for the Preds in the 2nd period. Brett Pesce ripped a goal from the blueline that Pekka Rinne just couldn’t catch up to. It was an absolute missile, but Rinne normally gets his blocker to this kind of shot:

Eventually the Preds would generate a bit more offense. Ryan Johansen had some nice play in the offensive zone, the Preds had a power play that sent a few shots just wide of the Carolina net, and the defense finally started pinching well into the zone, but still nothing on the board for Nashville after two periods.

After Trevor van Riemsdyk and Brock McGinn both scored on Rinne to make it a 4-0 Carolina lead, Ryan Johansen finally got the Preds on the board with a goal at 13:07 of the 3rd. He took a pass down low from Filip Forsberg and sent it just under the pads of Darling to make it a 4-1 game. But that was about all the fireworks the Preds had in this one.

Worry? Not Worry? What to make of the last three games.

Here’s the thing. There isn’t much to be worried about with this game. Or with the previous two games. But there isn’t much to be excited about either. That’s sort of the problem with NHL preseason. It’s hard to get too excited or worried about anything at all. 

Even Ryan Johansen’s goal in this game was pretty unremarkable. Hard to get excited about a meaningless goal in the preseason.

Having said that, here’s something: the Preds have scored four goals in their last three games, after having scored ten goals in their previous two. That sort of inconsistent goal scoring output is what we saw a good deal of last year. It looks like we may be in for more of the same this year.

But inconsistent goal scoring isn’t as bad as inconsistent defense, and that’s the more worrisome trend. You saw that tonight on at least two of the four Carolina goals. If the Nashville Predators defense continues to leave its goaltending out to dry, it will have a hard time winning games with any consistency.

— Featured image via the Nashville Predators —
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