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Bartley frustrated, but finding the positives, as Predators skid hits 5 games


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Photo Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images North America

On a night where Nashville tried to search for answers, they left with only more questions. The Dallas Stars rang up five on the Predators as Nashville is now 1-6-2 in their previous nine and have lost their last five games in a row.

It’s been a matter of frustration, disappointment, and untimely youth over the last couple of weeks. Nashville’s had their top forwards out with various injuries, including three of their finest (Wilson, Gaustad, Bourque) all done for the remainder of the season with surgeries for each.

For some, the dejection is showing clearly. Sergei Kostitsyn, who arguably had one of his worst nights of the season tonight, was ejected in the final minutes due to a boarding call in the Dallas zone. For others, though? It’s a matter of trying to find the positives night in and night out.

Victor Bartley, playing in his 18th career NHL game and averaging the sixth highest time on ice on the team, got his fourth assist of the season. Inviting me over with a smile and a handshake, the Maple Ridge, BC native stayed positive on what was otherwise a frustrating night.

“[We’re] frustrated. We keep trying to create and create, but it’s not working. Bounces seem to be going their way sometimes, but that’s hockey, that’s how it is. You’re not going to be perfect every single night, games like this are going to happen,” said Bartley. “You just gotta stay positive and stick with it because the long term gameplan will pan out for you. That’s all you got to do. Especially in our situation right now, we just gotta take it game by game and come ready to work tomorrow”

When asked what seemed to be going wrong over the past five games, Bartley was quick to point out that no matter what the outcome was, Nashville has no excuse for their current predicament.

“You can call it [bad] luck, you can call it whatever it is. There’s really no excuse for it. Hockey’s hockey. It just hasn’t worked well for us, but you take the positives out. We just gotta keep going. I thought we had good shifts at time, we had lots of pressure, we kept them to only 15/16 shots there,” said Bartley. “Sometimes pucks go in the net for them and that’s just how it goes, but overall positives? I thought we moved our feet well tonight, we created chances, we just have to build off that.”

Bartley has been one of the few bright spots for the incursion of youth that the Predators have injected into their lineup this season. He’s played solid in a Top-4 defenseman role paired with Kevin Klein and has rarely made an incriminating mistake during his time here.

Finishing up with him for the night, he remained upbeat when talking about the final half-dozen games remaining in the season. While I often times refer to many of life’s situations as ones that “could always be worse” (the mindset of an eternal optimist), it almost seemed that Bartley echoed the same sentiments. Not losing sight over the end goal, he strives to push forward in the final stretch of hockey games.

When asked if it was about grinding out the last six games, Bartley left me with this:

“Yeah, basically. Just keep working hard and hopefully get things happening here”