The Preds just took another loss to the Red Wings, and there are some things that really irritate me about the way they have been losing lately. They are now 2-6 since the back-to-back wins in Detroit. And they are 9-13 since what I considered the biggest win of the season to that point at Calgary.
What is the deal? Well, look at how the Red Wings play and you'll see the vast difference between the two teams. This has become a common scene when watching the Wings play the Preds:
Sure, it's a scene a lot of teams see when they play the Wings. And, hell, the Preds are only 2-3 against them. But notice the face--it's Mathieu Schneider. This guy has scored 4 goals in 5 games against this team (the Red Wings as a whole have scored 15). I think I've seen every one of them. They're all from the same spot on the ice, to the left of the goal, wide open, with only Vokoun in front of him. And guess what? Vokoun's not going to stop him. He genetically cannot stop Schneider from scoring under those circumstances.
That means no one is attacking. I don't think anyone can accuse the Preds of not being a hard-working team, but against the real good teams in this league, they get bullied. Teams have put up 40 shots or more in a drinking-game number of instances against this team. That's too damn many--I don't think that's ever going to change. This will never be addressed. The other side of it is watching the Wings play defense. They sort of form a 5-man wall in front of Legace, they look like the 5-side of a di. And when the puck is loose, they always go after it and disrupt any kind of offensive momentum that a skater can get. There's always someone trying for the puck.
The way you get around that is do some disruption yourself. But all the Preds stand around on the outside of this wall, expecting to be able to get a good shot if the puck gets to them, and let me tell you right now, that's not happening. It won't happen. I've never played hockey in my life, but I do know the laws of matter. They aren't going to be able to shoot the puck through 6 opposing guys. Someone needs to get in the wall, get in front of the net, cause a penalty, whatever. Stop allowing teams to build walls! And when you play defense, stop allowing their guys stand 2 inches in front of the goal! This has been a Predator staple since 1998.
And this losing the lead and losing the game late has to stop, too. What's the fix? Is there a fix? Is Legwand the answer? A healthy Walker (at this point, I'm not seeing either of those two ever being available for a whole season)? Whatever it is, they're going to have to find it. This team will make the playoffs, but they're also not going to face the Chicago Blackhawks, sorry to say.