Predators Insider: Preds pile on the points
Bad news first for the Nashville Predators. They lost to their old playoff nemesis, the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3 in a shootout Tuesday. The good news? The Predators were down by two goals after the first period, and once again came back to get a point.
So far this season, the Predators have come back from two goals down to win seven times. You can’t add this game to that stat, but it was the next best thing.
The glass-half-empty scenario is that Nashville dropped to 2-1-1 since the All-Star break. Glass half full would say the Predators have picked up points in three of four games since the break and have gone 14-3-1 in their last 18 games.
No matter how hot Nashville has been recently, over an 82-game set, you can’t win every game. But as long as the team finds ways to get points, it will find itself in positive playoff standing. The last time Nashville was held pointless at home was Jan. 5 against the Dallas Stars, in Shea Weber’s return from a concussion against the team that concussed him.
The Predators will hit the road for two games in the Eastern Conference, one against Mike Fisher’s return to his former team, Ottawa, and another against the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins. The Bruins game will likely be a barometer for Nashville to see how it stacks up against the class of the East, as well as a strong and well-balanced group.
Nashville coach Barry Trotz doesn’t enjoy watching a shootout. He often turns to the crowd in order to get reaction. He had to do this for six rounds Tuesday, before Canucks D Alex Edler buried a shot past G Pekka Rinne’s 5-hole. The loss dropped the Predators to 3-2 in the breakaway contest this season. C David Legwand scored Nashville’s lone shootout goal.
“It’s goalie against a shooter, and we both have a chance,” Rinne said. “I wasn’t happy with those two goals I gave up.”
In a battle of the two top power plays in the NHL, the Canucks bested the Predators. Vancouver went 1 for 1 with the man advantage while Nashville went 0 for 4. The Predators had several chances, including a sterling one in the slot by LW Colin Wilson on Vancouver G Roberto Luongo. Luongo appeared to just get his toe, pad and glove on the puck, preventing it from going into the empty net.
“You’re not going to get a ton of chances, but the chances you get, you have to convert on it,” Trotz said. “Luongo made one of those saves; we should have scored one there.”
In order to take advantage of RW Jerred Smithson’s faceoff prowess, Trotz inserted the energy winger into the lineup Tuesday. Smithson lived up to his billing, going 7 of 8 on draws. Smithson was a healthy scratch Saturday against the St. Louis Blues.
“I really felt tonight that the draw, starting with the puck, was really important, especially in our own end,” Trotz said.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“They both battled for pucks and made some great saves. They were both testing each other, and showing off to each other, like, ‘I make one, you make one, and go from there.'” — Nashville coach Barry Trotz, on goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Roberto Luongo.
LW Sergei Kostitsyn scored a goal off a skate deflection in the second period. He has 15 points in his last 16 games.
G Pekka Rinne’s loss in the shootout snapped an 11-game winning streak. Rinne made 28 saves in regulation and overtime and allowed two goals in the shootout.
C Mike Fisher scored a goal. This gives him eight in his last eight games. Fisher leads the Predators with 16 goals in 46 games played.