That’s not what the Predators did on Thursday night, falling 5-3 to the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville took a 3-2 lead into the third period, but tallies by Daniel Sedin and Brock Boeser gave Vancouver the late win. Sedin’s tally was his 1000th career point, while Boeser’s gave him his third multi-goal performance in seven games.
“We definitely gave them too many odd-man rushes,” said Predators defenseman Roman Josi on the third period. “They had like two or three breakaways two-on-one, that can’t happen. I thought we had a couple of chances early in the third and couldn’t capitalize. We just gave them too many chances, too many really good chances.”
The first period was fairly lackluster with just 20 total shots taken in total between the two teams. Early in the second period, however, the Predators got it going when Craig Smith made a nifty backhand move at the net to put the Predators up 1-0. That lead would be very short-lived, however, as Boeser tied it up just 11 seconds later with a pretty toe-drag after the feed from Bo Horvat.
Boeser had himself a game on his way to the top of the Calder Trophy race. Having faced him for the first time, Josi was impressed by the 20-year-old.
“He was good,” Josi said. “He’s a really skilled player. He’s got a good shot. It’s the first time we’ve played him, but he’s definitely a great player.”
The Predators would respond nicely, though, as Filip Forsberg fired a laser-beam wrist shot past goaltender Anders Nilsson on the power play a couple minutes later to give the Predators the lead back. It was the 12th consecutive home game that featured a Predators power-play goal.
Late in the period, the Predators let Loui Eriksson slip past the defense and bang home a Sedin rebound to give tie it up. The Predators had a quick response of their own, as minutes later, Nick Bonino banged home the puck from behind the net as his linemates crashed in front.
Despite having that lead, the third period was not kind to Nashville. Head coach Peter Laviolette thought that they didn’t have enough juice defensively to get it done.
“For me, offensively we pushed all night,” he said. “We probably hit the post three or four times, there were chances to win that game when it was three to two. We had our looks and it didn’t go in for us. I don’t think that we stopped playing, I just don’t think that we played very well defensively. I thought we gave up too much.”
“We were fairly tight in the first and gave up too much in the second and too much in the third. When you have a 3-2 lead going into the third, you can continue to push, but you have to do it inside of some structure and I thought we lost the structure and they gained a lot of opportunities from it. We need to play better defense.”
Sedin’s power-play tally tied the game up with a little under ten minutes to play in regulation. Five minutes later, Boeser got a great feed from Nikolay Goldobin as the Predators defenders were pinched up and made a slick deke right in front of Rinne and tucked it home to give the Canucks the lead for good.
Eriksson would add an empty-netter in the final minute.
For the Predators, it’s a disappointing end to what has otherwise been a phenomenal month of November. The team finished the month with a 10-3-1 record, nearly breaking a franchise record for most points in a month (set in March of 2010 with 23 points).
However, as The Tennessean’s Adam Vingan tweeted, third periods were not Nashville’s friend in November.
The Predators were outscored 22-12 in the third period this month. They've got to get better at closing out games.
— Adam Vingan (@AdamVingan) December 1, 2017
It’s a fairly big thing to work on after what has been a month to remember.
“It’s the way it goes sometimes,” Bonino said. “We’ll look at it tomorrow on video. We’ve got to get better.”
Nashville gets back to action on Saturday when they take on the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena for a Western Conference Final rematch.