In the battle of southeast felines, the Nashville Predators were unable to dig out of a two-goal deficit, falling to the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Thursday night.
It seems like it’s becoming a staple in their recent losses that Nashville will completely outshoot their opponent by a wide margin only to fall short on the scoreboard. Thursday night wasn’t any different as the Predators tallied 33 shots compared to Florida’s 16. Forward Calle Jarnkrok attributes the loss to a poor first period.
“I just think that we didn’t play good enough in the first,” said Jarnkrok. “We played well for 40 minutes, but it wasn’t enough.”
Even in the loss, Jarnkrok had a stellar game in a bigger role. With Mike Fisher on the injured reserve, it was obvious that head coach Peter Laviolette gave Jarnkrok more responsibilities Thursday night.
“We certainly miss Mike as he’s a big part of our team on the ice and in the locker room, but there’s the old cliché that there’s always opportunity for somebody else to make the most of it,” said Laviolette on Jarnkrok. “This is a great spot for Calle; he’s been in a position where he’s watched and learned and has gained some experience over the last year-plus. Now, he’s in a position where he actually gets to take down the minutes in the power play and the big face-offs. And to this point, it’s early, but he’s done a really nice job.”
Against the Panthers, Jarnkrok led the Predators in regards to shifts played at 26. He was also had the third most ice time out of the forwards with 21:46. In addition to that, Jarnkrok blocked three shots and was 14 of 22 in face-offs, good for 64%.
“It’s a lot of fun for me playing more minutes and playing some on the power play as well,” said Jarnkrok.
Out of the 59 total face-offs in the game, the 22 taken by Jarnkrok also led the team. Mike Ribeiro took 15 and won eight while Colton Sissons took 12 and won seven of them.
“I’m working on it every day with the coaches,” said Jarnkrok on his face-off prowess. “It’s been a big help for me.”
In a game that didn’t see much excitement until the last quarter of the third period, Nashville had some timely chances, but just couldn’t bury them. In the last minute, a shot from Seth Jones was reviewed, but it was determined that the puck went off two posts and never crossed the line.
“We had some questions on the calls at the end,” said Jarnkrok on the James Neal embellishment penalty along with the goal review. “The one that was really close where we could have tied the game, but it didn’t happen tonight. Let’s get back and win on the road.”
Penalty kill thoughts:
“We just haven’t been good enough. We get the puck back and we have to have 200-foot clears and we just give it back to them. That’s not good enough.”
– Calle Jarnkrok
“Both our specialty teams should be getting us momentum, especially the penalty kill. It’s a hard fought game and penalties do happen. You need your penalty killers to go out there and shut it down and let you live to fight another day.”
– Barret Jackman
“Tonight, I think we could have been in better position. We ran out of position a little bit and we got caught in front of the net. We know that penalty kills move around. It’s never just one thing. Sometimes it’s pressure, sometimes it’s coverage.”
– Peter Laviolette
Post game press conference with Peter Laviolette:
Photo credit: Christina McCullough