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playoffs

5 Reasons: Why Predators were eliminated

Problems on penalty kill, tough travel schedule among reasons for Nashville defeat against San Jose

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- The Nashville Predators were dominated from start to finish in their 5-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round.

It's the third time the Predators had been eliminated in the second round. They never have reached the conference finals.

The Predators played back-to-back seven-game series for the first time, but after eliminating the Anaheim Ducks in the first round, they weren't able to execute well enough to get past the Sharks.

Here are 5 reasons the Predators were eliminated:

1. POOR PENALTY KILL

The Predators were very good on the penalty kill in the first round against the Anaheim Ducks, but struggled against the Sharks in the second round. San Jose went 8-for-21 on the power play in the series and scored at least one power-play goal in six of the seven games.

The Predators had killed 21 of 25 shorthanded situations in their Western Conference First Round series against the Ducks, who had finished the regular season with the best power play in the NHL. The Predators weren't able to carry that success into the second round, and it played a role in them losing the series.

The Predators took fewer penalties against San Jose than they did against Anaheim, but they allowed the Sharks to move the puck well on the power play and take advantage of soft coverage areas left by Nashville's penalty killers.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm7: Thornton buries rebound for PPG

2. FORGOTTEN FORSBERG

Predators forward Filip Forsberg had NHL career-bests of 33 goals and 64 points in the regular season to lead the Predators in both categories, but he wasn't able to duplicate that in the playoffs, particularly in the second round against the Sharks.

He had one point in seven games against San Jose, a power-play goal in Game 3, and was a minus-9.

Forsberg wasn't the only top Predators player who didn't play well consistently in the series, but they needed more offense from him if they were to advance to the conference final.

3. ROAD WORRIERS

In what was a stark contrast to the Predators' first-round series against the Ducks, the home team won every game in the second-round series against the Sharks.

San Jose has not been a welcoming playoff destination for the Predators. Nashville is 0-8 all time in the playoffs at SAP Center, including 0-4 in this series, when the Sharks outscored the Predators 18-5 at home.

Nashville was competitive for two periods in its 5-2 loss in Game 1 at SAP Center and was satisfied with its play in a 3-2 loss in Game 2. But the Sharks were dominant in a 5-1 Game 5 win and again in Game 7.

Video: NSH@SJS, Gm7: Marleau finishes two-on-one rush

4. JET LAGGED

The Predators traveled more than 17,000 miles in the playoffs, the most in the League through the first two rounds.

Until Game 7 against the Sharks, the Predators had played every other of the playoffs since Game 1 against the Ducks on April 15. The lack of rest was evident, particularly in Game 5, two days after a 4-3 triple-overtime win in Game 4 at home.

The Predators never wanted to use travel as an excuse for their play, but piling on all those miles through the first two rounds was bound to catch up sooner or later.

5. NO ANSWERS

Sharks forwards Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski were the big offensive difference-makers in the series.

Couture had six goals and five assists in seven games. He had at least one point in six of the seven games and at least two points in four games.

Pavelski had four goals and three assists in the series and had at least one point in each of the four games at SAP Center. He created dangerous scoring opportunities seemingly every game on a line with Tomas Hertl and Joe Thornton, and built on a strong performance in the first round against the Los Angeles Kings, during which he had five goals in five games.

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