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Winless in their current homestand, Nashville has to find ways to earn points


Dec 4, 2013


Saturday’s contest against the Philadelphia Flyers left the Predators with a sour taste in their mouth, thinking they should have left the building with two points rather than one. Missed opportunities and chances to end the game before the shootout being the focal point of that discussion. Tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks was another dose of the same for Nashville.

Costly penalties in the third period, and two goals from an all-too-familiar face for the Predators, dropped Nashville to 0-2-1 on their current homestand with Thursday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes their last chance at picking points up at home before heading back out onto the road.

“We have to start winning at home. That’s the bottom line. We should be getting points here, and we should be winning. This next game is going to be huge,” said Predators forward Colin Wilson.

Through the first two periods, Nashville remained dead even with the Vancouver Canucks, out-shooting them in a scoreless first period before seeing the tables righted a bit in a one-goal-apiece second period.

“Our first thirty minutes tonight, Vancouver really didn’t have anything going. The shots were about 8 to 18,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. “Both teams were playing and we were matched pretty evenly. It came down to who was more detailed, disciplined, and who was winning all of those one-on-one battles.”

A tightly-contested game spilled into the third period, where things started to turn in Vancouver’s favor. Ryan Kesler would score his first of two goals 7:37 into the final frame on a bounced redirection off a Nashville Predators player.

“Our lines were weak, and we lost a battle to their wing in the corner. We had the puck in the slot and lost it again in our net. It bounced off of our guy, but in those one-on-one battles, that play could have been killed 20 seconds before that goal happened,” said Trotz. “The urgency on that was not good enough considering we were playing a great team.”

The Predators knew one goal would be the difference maker against the Canucks tonight, whether it come from a Nashville stick or a Vancouver stick. Unfortunately, for the Predators, they didn’t do enough in their eyes to earn it.

“You could tell right out of the gate that it was going to be a checking type of game. We’ve been playing just good enough to not win. In all of these games. It’s a little frustrating. We have to keep going, keep getting better, and find ways,” said Predators forward Eric Nystrom. “I wish there was a secret formula. Just keep shooting, keep going to the net, playing hard defense, and grinding points out.”

With the Predators now seven points back of a wild card position approaching the midway point of the season, desperation may be setting in for a team that is not only trying to find ways to score, but that has been dealing with injuries from the early onset.

“There is absolutely some sense of desperation. Here’s a four point game where we should have scored more points. Win or lose, we should get some points out of these games. We tried to stay with Vancouver,” said Trotz. “This game was a huge swing. We need to get points, plain and simple. Is there urgency? Absolutely. If there isn’t any urgency, we have a problem.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua