After ending skid, Predators host Flyers
Entering Monday’s game at Washington with a six-game losing streak as well as a 10-game skid in road games dating back to mid-November, the Nashville Predators finally found their slump-buster.
The team which made fathers’ trips a common thing in the NHL brought their moms along, and with their biggest cheerleaders looking on from two boxes at the Verizon Center, Nashville pumped five straight goals by Braden Holtby to erase a quick 3-1 deficit and win 6-3.
“Growing up, you fall and you get a boo-boo, who do you run to? Mom,” forward Rocco Grimaldi said. “We’re on a six-game losing streak, we’re kind of hurting and banged up, who do we need to come running to? Mom.
“It was a great win by our team, especially going down 3-1.”
Having derived inspiration from their mothers, the Predators now try for back-to-back wins Tuesday night when they start the 2019 portion of their schedule in Bridgestone Arena against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Nashville (23-15-2) finally found the back of the net with some regularity for the first time in a while. During its six-game losing streak, it managed just 10 goals, getting shut out Thursday night by Dallas’ Anton Khudobin despite putting 49 shots on net.
For the first time in weeks, the Predators didn’t display hands of clay around the net. They buried opportunities, and didn’t give up momentum-killing goals after their scores.
“We competed really well,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We played a good game offensively, we were opportunistic and did what we needed to do. Coming from behind a couple of times down by two goals is also a good thing … so lots of positives to pull from today.”
Making it even more meaningful was the depth scoring the Predators received. Grimaldi, Miikka Salomaki and Frederick Gaudreau provided unexpected goals. With the team up 4-3 midway through the third period, defenseman Ryan Ellis produced just his fourth marker to create separation.
The arrival of Philadelphia in town would seem to give Nashville a decent chance to earn another two points. The Flyers (15-18-5) fell 3-1 Monday night in Carolina, dropping them into last place in the Metropolitan Division and giving them their eighth loss in 11 games.
It was a particularly rough night for goalie Carter Hart, making his fifth NHL start. Hart ceded three goals on just 10 shots before getting the hook just 2:19 into the second period after Andrei Svechnikov beat him.
“I’m just going to put it behind me,” Hart said to philly.com. “Learn from it. Put it in the archives and get better. We came out and played hard at the start, and I wasn’t up to the challenge.”
Philadelphia is 3-3-1 under interim coach Scott Gordon, who was brought up from its AHL club in Lehigh Valley when Dave Hakstol got the axe following an 0-3-1 road swing through western Canada. The Flyers are 1-2-1 heading into the finale of a five-game road trip.
The teams met on December 20 in Philadelphia, where Hart stopped 31 shots in a 2-1 victory.