Let’s be honest. You knew it wouldn’t last forever. The Nashville Predators’ franchise record 10-game win streak finally came to an end at the hands of the New Jersey Devils 3-2 in a shootout at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.
“It had to end sometime, but that’s definitely a tough way to end it,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said.
“I think at different times in this streak, we haven’t liked our game and at other times we’ve loved our game. So, knowing that we can find different ways to win is great, but there’s not a lot of games left and consistency down the stretch is our biggest priority.”
“It speaks for the team,” captain Roman Josi said. “Ten is a row, it shows a lot of consistency. That’s what you want toward the playoffs with a lot of consistency. We’ve been playing really well and we want to keep it going. We’ve just got to forget about that one and get back to the next one.”
Nashville was trailing until 1:06 left in the game when Ryan Johansen buried his 11th goal of the year, and second in as many games, to send the game to overtime.
Overtime. That seems to be a recurring trend for this Predators team. This was the 20th game the Predators have needed either overtime or a shootout to decide this season. Nashville is 10-10 in those games.
“Shootouts are tough,” Johansen said. “You feel like they can go any team’s way. So, it was definitely big tying it up and giving ourselves a chance to win it in overtime.”
Lost in the shuffle of the first lost since Feb. 17, the Preds did collect a point for the 11th straight game. As it stands now, the Preds are seven points ahead of Winnipeg for the Central Division lead and five points ahead of Vegas for tops in the Western Conference.
The biggest thing for this Predators team is finding and maintaining that consistency heading into the playoffs. With points in 26 of 30 games since the start of 2018, I’d say it doesn’t get more consistent than that.
“We have to be sharp and really tune into what kind of team we want to be in the playoffs,” Ellis said. “We have 14 games left to put it all together and be ready for the playoffs.”
“We’ve done a lot of good things,” Johansen added. “We’re not really focused on that streak. Now that it’s over, we’re focused on the process of what we need to do to keep improving as a team. So, the same thing is going to keep happening. We’ll wake up tomorrow and go from there.”
“This is one of the toughest times of the year. Every team and every player is bringing their best. So, you’ve got to find ways to prepare yourself and out-compete and outwork and outplay the opposition.”
The good news for the Preds is they have shown on several occasions that they are capable of digging down deep and hitting that extra gear. This is a team that is never out of a game.
“If we play like we did the second half of this game, I think it will be no issue with consistency,” defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. “I really think in the last half it really showed what kind of team we are.”