Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks presented the Nashville Predators to win two games in a row for the first time since December 21st. With less than a minute remaining in the first period, the Blackhawks tallied the first goal of the game, and they never looked back, taking down the Predators by a score of 4-1.
“It’s been kind of the story of the season, playing inconsistent,” said Roman Josi. “The game again tonight was what it’s kind of been all season, not playing poor and not playing great either. Just inconsistent.”
It was another game where Nashville outshot its opponent only to put another loss in the column. In the 10 times this season where the Predators have registered at least 35 shots and scored two or fewer goals, the team is 0-8-2 (via Adam Vingan). On Tuesday night, the Predators put up 39 shots, including 16 in the third period as they tried to claw their way out of the 3-1 deficit.
“We’re shooting a lot, but sometimes we’re just shooting a lot from the outside,” said Josi who alone had six shots on net. “We don’t get on the inside, to the dirty areas, where goals are scored. Shots are not going to go in if we don’t go to the net or get traffic. It’s a combination of a lot of things.”
The biggest problem for Nashville during the rut they’ve found themselves in for the past two months is consistency. They’ll play well for a span of 10 minutes, and then let the opposition dominate. The Predators will generate chances, and create opportunities and not bury them.
“There are parts of the game tonight where I do not think we were executing very well,” said head coach Peter Laviolette. “I thought the first 10 minutes was all us and the last 10 minutes was all them. We made too many mistakes in the last 10 minutes, but it is difficult to play 60 minutes that you like against a team like them. Part of the problem tonight was that we shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes that just can’t happen.”
Mike Fisher echoed the thoughts on the inconsistencies.
“I didn’t think we were good enough tonight in some areas to win a hockey game against a team like Chicago,” said Fisher. “We outshot them, but that was about it. We weren’t hungry enough around the net. A little bit too lax in the neutral zone about some stuff, that was the difference. They got their chances and that was the difference.”
It’s coming to a point where after every loss, the team knows exactly what went wrong in the game and how they can improve. The important factor is if they can make those adjustments in order to win the next game.
“Oh yeah, everybody’s pissed off,” said Josi. “It’s not fun to lose. You get mad when you lose. You want to change that as quick as possible and win some games. Everybody’s pissed off in the room.”
The Predators fly off to Winnipeg tomorrow afternoon embarking on a four-game road trip prior to the All Star break. They’ll face the Jets and then the three western Canadian teams in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver to close off the trip.
Post game video – Shea Weber & Pekka Rinne:
Photo credit: Christina McCullough