The Nashville Predators are quickly learning how important it is to play a full 60 minutes instead of playing prevent when getting a lead. For the second game in a row, the Predators blew a third-period lead and lost to the Minnesota Wild 3-2 in overtime on Tuesday night. While the team played consistent enough to enter the third period up 2-1, it wasn’t enough to hold off the still-desperate Wild.
“It’s frustrating,” said Laviolette on the team playing well but not winning. “It’s frustrating for every body. At the end of the night, you have to win games. We had the opportunity to win the last games and we didn’t get it done, so there are things that we can do better.
With two goals less than a minute apart in the second, Roman Josi gave the team an opportunity to win, but the team took a step back for most of the third.
“Last period we just have to be better and go after the next goal,” said Josi. “We took a step back and they were pressuring again and we just have to find a way to win those games. It’s all about winning in this league and you have to find a way to win. We just have to bear down in the third and find a way to get two points.”
In his fifth game since being recalled, Viktor Stalberg played a major role in both of Josi’s goals, including an assist on the second one.
“He’s a great player, obviously,” said Stalberg. “I’m a pretty good skater out there, so when I get some separation and he keeps trailing the play like that and joining the rush, it’s really easy for the defense to back off and give the ability to make those plays. We’ve connected a couple times like that before this year, too, so every time he’s out there, you have to look for him. He’s a dangerous, offensive guy, and he’s been one of our best players all year.”
Stalberg did fit in nicely with Calle Jarnkrok and Matt Cullen. He continued to apply pressure on the forecheck and utilized his speed to force Minnesota defensemen into making plays.
“I have to use my speed and that’s the role I’m playing here and I think it fits me pretty well,” said Stalberg about him pressuring the puck on the forecheck. “I don’t have to think too much out there, just go out there and play. Play hard every shift and make some plays. I think I can make some plays out there when I get the opportunity to. Our line played a strong game tonight for the most part. I’m going to do everything I can to stay in the lineup and help make a push for the playoffs.”
With Nashville’s next game not until Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres, the team will take Wednesday off and then practice on Thursday and Friday. In the past month and a half, the Predators haven’t had much of an opportunity to practice, especially since Cody Franson and Mike Santorelli joined the team.
“We haven’t had much practice with the road trip and we came back here on a quick turnaround,” said Stalberg on finally being able to practice later this week. “We’ll get out there and work. You can always improve a couple of things late in the year. It’ll be nice, but it’ll be nice for the body to heal up here, too.”
While these will be two of the few times the team has practiced in the last month or so, it will also be an opportunity for fans to see the Predators. Both Thursday and Friday practices are schedule to be open to the public at Centennial Sportsplex.