The Nashville Predators lost in overtime. It has become a repeated phase over the last two seasons and the Predators have yet to find a solution. On Tuesday night, the Minnesota Wild extended their point streak to 12 games and the Nashville Predators suffered their sixth overtime/shootout loss of the season. Nashville is now 2-15 overall in overtime since three-on-three play began last season.
“Last year we were struggling a lot but we’ve been doing a lot of good things,” said Filip Forsberg. “We have a lot of chances; this game was kind of back and forth. [Neal] had two good looks and almost scored there. They just go the other way and score. That’s exciting for the fans and that’s the way the league wants it.”
A better way to avoid many of the overtime struggles would be to finish the game in regulation. There has been a major problem in that area this season, same as many times last season.
“It starts when you start to put the wins together by playing a certain style and with a certain identity, so I think consistency inside of that will help lead to that,” said head coach Peter Laviolette.
In the loss, it was difficult to even have the ability to establish a rhythm to the game as the Predators took three penalties in the first period. Two of them came within the first 10 minutes of the game.
“If you’re talking about the first few shifts, I thought they were good, but then it got into specialty teams and like I said, there were too many calls against us tonight,” said Laviolette. “That makes it difficult to say where it’s at. I like the way we played the second period.”
With how big of a week it is for Nashville, getting a point against a divisional rival gives a glimmer of hope. Minnesota and Chicago continue to extend their lead in the Central, but a struggling Pacific Division helps keep a Wild Card spot in sight.
“It’s a big week, definitely,” said Roman Josi. “We are playing three teams that are ahead of us in our division. It’s a huge week and we just have to get some wins.”
Following the completion of Tuesday night’s loss, Winnipeg and Dallas jumped Nashville in the standings, pushing the Predators down to sixth in the Central Division.
While the team overall has shown sparks of putting it together, they still haven’t been able to string together games where it looks like they have passed over the proverbial hump. Individuals will have good moments and good games, but the team as a whole will not.
In this game, Reid Boucher notched his first goal as a Nashville Predator. Boucher was claimed off of waivers from New Jersey on December 3rd. He played one game in Nashville, December 4, before being sent to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment. While in Milwaukee, Boucher tallied four goals and an assist in five games. For his first goal in Nashville, he made an excellent play with his positioning to skirt one past Devan Dubnyk.
“It’s nice to score,” said Boucher. “I thought we battled pretty hard to get back into the game, but it’s kind of disappointing that we couldn’t finish it off.”
Boucher produced while with the Admirals and he credits his conditioning assignment for it transferring to his first game back with Nashville.
“It helped me with a lot of things like getting used to the systems here,” said Boucher. “Getting used to it, I felt a bit more comfortable than my first time out. They want me to have an impact on the game. They told me this morning don’t go out there and try to blend in. They wanted me to have an impact and use my shot and make a little offense.”
Boucher is the type of player that if he can translate his previous success in juniors and the AHL, he could be a nice addition to an offense where the only consistent scorer this season is James Neal.
The Nashville Predators are set to practice on Wednesday afternoon and then face the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night.