Getting swept in a back-to-back to the fourth-place St. Louis Blues was not how the Nashville Predators envisioned their weekend ending.
Nevertheless, even after dropping back-to-back division games, Nashville is still only two points behind first-place Winnipeg with 24 games left this year.
So, with one-quarter of the season left, how should Nashville feel about the team as currently constructed?
“I think we could use a little bit more balance in our scoring,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think guys are finding their way back from the injuries. You can’t just paint it with a broad brush and say every game was good or every game was bad. I was pretty clear that last night I did not like the way we played.
“Tonight, I thought that we did enough good things to win a hockey game, I hate the result, but on a back-to-back situation and chasing the game the whole night, we gave our guys credit for competing until the end. I just don’t like the result of the game, so I don’t know if you’re going to get a clear-cut answer.
“Every game is different, and every game will be different moving forward. There will be hopefully a lot that we like and not so many like we don’t like, we’re always trying to get better.”
It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom for the Predators on Sunday. Despite falling 5-4 in overtime, the Preds did earn a point and did come back from a 3-1 deficit. The offense showed signs of life during a 3:22-span in the third period when Roman Josi and Viktor Arvidsson brought Nashville back from a double-digit deficit to reignite the Bridgestone Arena crowd.
“It was a different game completely for us today in a positive way, I hate the result because we didn’t walk away with another point,” Laviolette said. “But for me, the speed and the competitiveness, the shots, the attempts, the looks that we had – I thought they were good.
“I thought there were a couple of things we did defensively that we just put ourselves on the rush, on the wrong side of them coming at us and it created situations that were uneasy. I thought that in a couple situations, we could have been more responsible.”
So, should the Preds take solace in the fact that they came back in the third period, despite eventually falling in overtime? Well, just maybe, the adversity they are currently facing helps bring the positives to light with the playoffs right around the corner.
“We have things that we need to do better, but we’ve never dealt with character in this room,” Preds center Ryan Johansen said. “These guys never give up. We just keep pushing and keep moving forward. It’s just trying to find ways to win hockey games and play for each other. That’s a big positive for sure.”
“The third period was great and we showed a lot of character,” Preds captain Roman Josi said. “But against a team like that, you have to do it for 60 minutes. I think we played pretty well for the most part, but they are a really good team and they have been playing well lately.”