Predators seek special teams improvement vs. Senators
Posted on: 28 Jan, 2024 at 10:13 PM
Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
After a letdown on special teams, the Nashville Predators are looking to get all facets of their game in order when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Monday.
The Predators are 1-3-0 in their last four games, including Saturday's 4-1 loss to the red-hot Edmonton Oilers. There is no shame in losing to a team on a 16-game winning streak, yet Nashville missed an opportunity to end Edmonton's run at NHL history.
The Oilers' 21 shots were their second-lowest shot total of the year, and tied for the second-fewest shots by any Nashville opponent this season. Edmonton built an early lead on a pair of power-play goals, however, which has been a familiar theme for the Predators this season.
Nashville is 120-for-158 on penalty kills this season, ranking near the bottom of the NHL in penalty-kill percentage.
"(Our 5-on-5 play) is in a good place right now. Our special teams was just not up to snuff," said forward Colton Sissons, who scored Nashville's only goal Saturday.
"It's killing us a little bit. It's frustrating and it hurts the guys that take a lot of pride (in their work), especially in the kill. So we've got to rally together and ... get on a little run here to give us a chance."
Over the Predators' last three games, the club is only 6-for-11 on penalty kills and 0-for-10 on their own power-play opportunities.
As Nashville tries to turn around their deficiencies, Ottawa might be an ideal opponent. Nashville is ahead of the Senators in both power-play percentage (19.4 percent to 16.3 percent) and penalty-kill percentage (76 percent to 73.7 percent) this season.
The Senators rode a five-game points streak (3-0-2) into Saturday's home game with the New York Rangers, and held a 2-0 lead through the first five minutes of the second period. That's where the momentum came to a halt, as the Rangers tallied seven unanswered goals in a 7-2 rout.
"It is frustrating because I think that we gave them the win," Senators interim coach Jacques Martin said. "We're in a good situation and you face a little bit of adversity, but you've got to build resistance to that, and ... be able to stick with it. It seems like we lost our composure, and we lost our compete level."
Joonas Korpisalo was pulled after he allowed four goals on 17 shots in 31:11 of play, and Mads Sogaard stopped nine of 11 shots in the relief effort. Since Korpisalo has started eight of the Senators' last 10 games, Sogaard might be favored to start Monday in order to give Korpisalo more rest.
Juuse Saros will likely be back in net for Nashville on Monday, since backup goaltender Kevin Lankinen got the start against Edmonton. Saros is 19-18-1 with a 2.91 goals-against average this season.
Filip Forsberg leads the Predators with 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists). Tim Stutzle leads the Senators in both points (45) and assists (35), while Brady Tkachuk leads Ottawa with 20 goals.
The Predators are 10-1-3 in their last 14 games with Ottawa, dating back to the 2015-16 season.
Dominik Kubalik (hip) and Travis Hamonic (upper-body injury) are both questionable for Monday's lineup. Kubalik has missed Ottawa's last four games, and Hamonic the last three.
--Field Level Media