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Predators should probably be more concerned about goaltending

Martin Hanzal, Zbynek Michalek, Tobias Rieder, Carter Hutton

Arizona Coyotes’ Tobias Rieder (8) celebrates his first goal during the third period against Nashville Predators’ Carter Hutton, left, with teammates Martin Hanzal (11) and Zbynek Michalek (4) in an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. Rieder scored two goals in the third period, and the Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)


The Nashville Predators’ recent play has been worrisome, and the splashy trade to land Ryan Johansen hasn’t steered them back on a winning path.

Saturday represented another troubling loss, as the Predators dropped their third straight game (and fifth loss in six games) in humbling fashion. The Arizona Coyotes beat them 4-0, culminating with a salt-in-the-wounds goal by Anthony Duclair.

In fact, that defeat bumped Nashville out of the West’s playoff mix as of last night.

The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan caught up with multiple members of the team who recognized a problem ... though specifics were scarce.

(More here.)

Perhaps they’re not willing to confront their most glaring problem, though?

The elephant in the room

When you look at the Predators’ possession stats, they don’t really strike you as a “bad team.”

They may be a team suffering from bad luck, with bottom-third numbers in shooting and save percentages, giving them a low “PDO.”

Johansen and simple bounces may help the shooting side ... but what about Pekka Rinne’s failings, and the shortcomings of Nashville’s goaltending in general?

Rinne wasn’t in net last night, but the team uses him like a workhorse, making his struggles that much more glaring. His record isn’t very good (16-13-6, leaving among the NHL’s biggest losers) and his .906 save percentage falls in the “bad backup” range.

It makes sense to stick with a $7 million guy, especially since the team doesn’t seem to have much trust in Carter Hutton, but maybe GM David Poile should try to work the phones for a better second goalie option?

Ultimately, the Predators’ biggest concern might just be their lack of concern in net.

That said, feel free to float other hypotheses in the comments.