Saturday night in Nashville between the Predators and Blackhawks was a game of capitalizing on opportunities. It was until the third period when Nashville finally got on the board, but it was too little, too late. Only Chicago was able to tally a goal in the first period, one that Ryan Ellis noted saw the Predators not do well against the talented Blackhawks team.
“They got it out of their end well,” said Ellis. “We couldn’t establish the forecheck because their [defense] was moving the puck very well and their forwards were making good plays on the wall. Until the third period, we didn’t get too much action in their end. They capitalized on their chances and I give them credit, they played well.”
The first and second period just seemed to be sluggish for Nashville.
“I dunno, I guess somedays you have it, some days you don’t,” said Ellis. “We brought it on there and the game was fairly even, especially after the second.”
In the third period however, the Predators put 13 shots on goaltender Scott Darling. This included Colin Wilson’s goal just 34 seconds into the period.
“It was great,” said Ellis on Wilson’s goal. “A great shot, great play off the face off. It doesn’t happen too clean like that too often. In the third period, that was a huge goal for our team.”
One of the major differences for the team in the third period is that Nashville was able to keep the puck in the Chicago end for longer periods of time, generating more scoring opportunities.
“It was just get on the pucks,” said Ellis on the message going into the third period. “In the first two periods, they got it out of their end pretty easily. I think we just needed to get more action in their end and that means having the puck and staying in on the action. We did a better job of that in the third.”
Ellis logged the second most minutes for the Predators on Saturday night, spending 24:25 on the ice. That’s just 17 seconds behind Shea Weber.
“Overall, I think we just needed to get more action in their end,” said Ellis. “Our offensive guys seem to get a little more ice time when that happens. It (a goal) didn’t happen tonight, and hopefully it happens another time.”
As in games past, another positive note for Nashville’s special teams is their penalty kill. The Predators killed off three penalties against the skilled forwards and defensemen of the Blackhawks.
“They have good forwards and big defense that move the puck well,” said Ellis. “Tonight, we did a good job trying to get the puck out of our zone as soon as they brought it in. When they did have zone time, we blocked shots and we made plays that we had to and Pekka did a great job for us in net.”
With any loss, the team needs to learn from any mistakes and move on.
“Going on the road and we haven’t seen them yet this year,” said Ellis on the upcoming game against Colorado. “They’re another good team that can hurt you any time on the ice. We have to be ready for it. We have a couple days to prepare and then move on from them.”
Nashville has yet to lose two games in a row. Colorado is currently last in the division at 9-12-6 with a 5-6-2 record at home. Look for the Predators to bounce back.
Peter Laviolette Press Conference: