An energetic, two goal effort in the third period wasn’t enough for the Nashville Predators to overcome three-goal deficit against the Washington Capitals as the team ended their four-game home stand with a 5-3 loss.
Midway through the third period, the crowd really carried Nashville, pushing them to tally two goals in less than three minutes. Two television timeout standing ovations noticeably gave the team more energy as they pushed to tie the game.
“That was awesome from our fans,” said Ryan Ellis. “They really pumped us up with about 10 minutes left. I think it really paid off for us because we potted two there, and we were really feeling it. I thought we had a solid chance to come back, and unfortunately I don’t agree with the penalty, but it’s a penalty nonetheless. We still went for it, but they got the empty-netter and that was it.”
Aside from the tripping penalty that Mattias Ekholm took at 18:37, it almost seemed that if the team had just started the rally a few minutes earlier, they would have had a chance to tie or win the game given their strong effort.
“I thought we were definitely all over them,” said Ellis. “That’s a really good hockey team over there. They obviously did enough to win, but maybe a couple more minutes, it bounces our way and we get something. We ran out of time there and it didn’t happen.”
The Predators had a first period full of opportunities to put the puck past Washington goaltender Braden Holtby, but they just couldn’t muster a goal. They eventually got on the board with a power play goal from Filip Forsberg in the second period before allowing the Capitals to net two in the first half of the third period, giving them a 4-1 lead at the time.
“I thought we played a good game until that point [in the third],” said Ellis. “They made some good plays. I think for us, we just had a mental lapse for the first three minutes and they capitalized. After that, I thought we playing really good hockey, the best of the night. We got rewarded a couple times, but just not enough in the end.”
Tuesday’s game seemed to be another one of those games where Nashville seems to do a good amount right, but each little mistake turns costly. In this game, it was bad turnovers that led to two Washington goals.
“You have to think there are good players on other teams, and they’re bound to make good plays,” said Ellis. “That’s what other teams do, and we need to do the same. I think we did at times tonight. A couple good goals by Filip. That’s what we need. We just need more of it. Again, we have to do a better job defending and limiting their chances.”
As it’s being said all too often now, the Predators have a difficult, and unique, schedule ahead. The team will have two days off and then play back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday against Tampa Bay and Florida. They’ll then come back home for a very rare Monday evening game in Nashville.
“Those are two big games,” said Ellis. “Florida’s right at the top of the East, and Tampa is not too far behind. The back-to-backs are going to be important for us. Then coming home against a good Dallas team that has really been buzzing all year for the most part…all three of those games, we’re going to have to keep winning just to stay alive in the playoff hunt.”
Post game video: Shea Weber, Filip Forsberg & Peter Laviolette
Photo credit: Christina McCullough