The Nashville Predators are now 2-16 in overtime dating back to last season. This season, Nashville is 0-4 following the 2-1 overtime loss to the Montreal Canadiens. What does this team have to do differently to come away with two points instead of one? They aren’t really sure at the moment.
They’re a team that is really good at being inconsistent this season. There isn’t really a formula to go about being consistent other than just doing it.
“I don’t know, I just try to focus on my job and not worry about anything else,” said goaltender Pekka Rinne when asked how the team can be more consistent. “I don’t know to be honest with you.”
Against the Canadiens, Pekka Rinne did his job, and he did it well by stopping 41 of the 43 shots taken on him. But it was the team in front that couldn’t put the win together against Carey Price.
“If it weren’t for Pekka in net, we wouldn’t have a point right now,” said head coach Peter Laviolette.
Yes, the Montreal Canadiens lead the Atlantic Division with 52 points and yes, the Nashville Predators are currently only three points from a Wild Card spot, but when victory is sitting there to be taken, they haven’t done it this season. When it comes to overtime play, they’re almost at a loss for words sometimes.
“We have to score if you have a chance,” said Roman Josi. “I had a two-on-one and I just have to score a goal. We had chances in overtime before and we just can’t seem to put it in.”
Against Montreal, Nashville didn’t get as many chances as they had in previous overtimes, but they barely had control of the puck. They were very conservative defensively in overtime on Tuesday night, which could be a product of the team knowing their record. Is there even a change in strategy that needs to take place for overtime? Three-on-three hockey is really nothing more than shinny, and eventually pucks should bounce their way to even out. But, they haven’t, even though it’s something they continue to practice.
“We get our chances and for the most part I think we limited theirs,” said Ryan Ellis. “It’s like all season; we give up one and that’s the one they score one. It’s usually a chance you’d have to pray to stop because it’s such a glorious chance. We had a two-on-one, we had some possession and it just has to fall for you.”
In regulation, the stats would show that the Canadiens dominated the Predators. In five-on-five situations, Montreal had 60 shot attempts compared to Nashville’s 37. On goal, the Predators only registered 23 shots. Against arguably the best goalie in the league in Carey Price, that’s not going to cut it.
“I thought they had a lot of shots, a lot of quality shots as well, and I think we need to create more,” said Ellis. “We had some quality chances, but 23 shots isn’t going to get it done usually.”
Peter Laviolette was not pleased with the team’s performance.
“I thought we played really well and hard against Chicago and did not get the result we were looking for, so each game has to be spoken about separately, but tonight is unacceptable,” said Laviolette.
While Tuesday night was an emotional one for the fans and many players, the game still had to be played. Shea Weber was given a touching tribute on the megatron, and he scored the tying goal in the third period. How fitting.
“At the end of the day, you have to do your job; win puck battles, do your part to win the game,” said Ryan Ellis. “Obviously it was a highly anticipated game, but at the end of the day, it’s a game you have to win.”
Nashville now embarks on another tough road trip. Three games in four days against difficult teams. Thursday and Friday will see back-to-back games against Tampa Bay and Florida. They will then travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks again on Sunday. With two games coming against the East, getting any sort of points of the games will be vital to gain ground on Western Conference opponents.