2-on-1 offensive drive. Stretch pass. 2-on-1 offensive drive. Stretch pass. 2-on-1 offensive drive. The Nashville Predators’ offense in this game rested entirely upon beating the Vegas Golden Knights’ defense and they did that, time and time again.
After a dominant first period where Reilly Smith scored on the power play and the Knights led shots 13-5, they started playing sloppy in the second. That never stopped, continuing into the third period. They got beat routinely, forcing forwards to defend the 2-on-1 and allowing far too many stretch passes (and also lacking individual effort, as Colin Miller did on the first goal). That led to the 4-1 loss.
This game just wasn’t Vegas’ best and is an example of what’s wrong with the team this year. Without Nate Schmidt, their defense is lacking something. That third pairing continues to be a problem, and the forwards can’t make up for it. The offense is empty this season, hitting two posts in key moments in the third, and yet the Golden Knights still led shots and chances throughout the game. They had a lead on everything but goals and high-danger chances.
This is not a game that rests upon Malcolm Subban. He’s still a young goaltender without a ton of experience who had to face too many strong chances from the Predators. He played incredibly well in the first half, but after the Golden Knights defense just allowed too much, he broke.
The effort is there, but nobody has finishing touch, at least not on a consistent basis. The Knights need more from their depth and they’re just not getting it. It’s just bad for Vegas this season, and it’s getting tiring.