Following Tuesday night’s game of one total goal, the Predators put up three goals in Thursday night’s losing effort to the Philadelphia Flyers, falling 6-3.
In a game filled with goals, the Nashville Predators couldn’t beat goaltender Steve Mason enough times to get ahead. The puck didn’t bounce in the right direction for Nashville, and the Flyers took advantage each time.
“I think that’s a little too nice to say,” said Mattias Ekholm on bad bounces. “You’ve got to work to get the bounces. I didn’t think we played on top of our game tonight. I thought it was a decent game, but decent games are not going to win us any games nowadays. We have to be on top of our game and attack, and we could have done more. Especially in the first, I thought we were a little flat. We got a few power plays and some momentum in that, but I think bad bounces is a bad reason to blame. I just think we have to get better in this.”
On the night, the Predators had seven total power play opportunities, including a four minute advantage less than 10 minutes into the first period. Nashville was only able to convert on one of them, a Shea Weber slap shot from the point.
“I thought we got shots,” said Ekholm. “Ellis has one right off, he shoots the goalie’s stick out his hands and is scrambling there for seconds and it’s on the goal line. It’s just, I think we’re shooting, Weber got one, but that’s the main key, we have to keep shooting. The goals will come. It just wasn’t our night. I thought we got looks, but the puck just didn’t want to go into the net.”
If a piece of equipment could be voted as a star, Mason’s left pad might have earned it. Multiple times, Mason’s left pad stopped quality chances for Nashville to score. It was another 40-shot effort by the Predators that resulted in a loss.
“We know he’s a good goalie,” said Ekholm on Mason. “He obviously got a great start and got some shots on that double minor and got his game going. We scored three goals, that’s better than the zero last game. We’ve got to get back and stop ones, but he did a good job stopping us.”
As most Predators fans will know, Pekka Rinne takes losses, especially ones like this, very hard. No matter what may happen in a game, he usually takes full responsibility. In this case, it’s certainly the team in front of him that shoulders the blame.
“Everyone’s got to chip in,” said Ekholm. “It’s definitely not on Pekka. The chances that we gave up were breakaways or two-on-ones and three-on-twos, there’s nothing he can do. I hate to see him blame himself for it, because I think he’s playing great. We have to help him out a lot better than we did tonight.”
Following a four-game winning streak on the road prior to the All Star break, Nashville is now on a two-game losing streak at home. With two more games at Bridgestone Arena before hitting the road again, they will have another opportunity to figure it out on Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks, who are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games.
As the team nears the final stretch of the season, it’s imperative that they not focus as much on this game as they should the next.
“We just have to forget about this and go through it tomorrow, then just put it in the trash can,” explained Ekholm. “Next game is a Saturday night in Nashville. It’s going to be a great atmosphere and I’m looking forward to playing. I hope everyone else feels the same way.”
Post game video with Shea Weber, Calle Jarnkrok and Peter Laviolette:
Photo credit: Christina McCullough