Jan 13, 2014
After giving up the first goal for the 25th time in 47 games, the Nashville Predators fell 4-0 to their Central Division rivals, the Minnesota Wild, on Sunday night.
At 12:03 of the first period, Minnesota’s Dany Heatley put the Wild up 1-0, and they never looked back. The loss means that, for the 22nd time this season, Nashville lost when allowing the first goal.
“It’s tough,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said. “They came out with a lot of juice and got us on our heels a little bit in the first. They capitalized on a couple of turnovers. We tried to stick-handle. We tried to make plays through people and just sometimes you can’t.”
The Wild, who were eight points ahead of Nashville for the final Western Conference playoff spot prior to the game, pushed their lead on the Predators for the wild card spot to ten points.
Jason Zucker scored a goal a little over two minutes after Heatley’s goal to send Minnesota into the locker room for the first period with a 2-0 lead. The Wild would add goals in the third from Matt Cooke and Marco Scandella to bring home a 4-0 final.
“We battled, but we didn’t have the extra step that they did,” Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said. “They played a really good road game and their defense was really good in their end, they managed to get the puck out almost every time. Just one of those games you have to let go and focus on the next one.”
Wild goaltender Darcy Kuemper earned his first career shutout, stopping 23 Predators shots. Nashville also attempted 35 more shots, with 21 being blocked by Wild players and 14 missing the Minnesota net. It was the seventh time this season that Nashville has been shut out.
“It doesn’t matter who is in net on the other side, all 60 goalies up in this league are really good, but obviously he had a great night and we couldn’t come into the slot against them,” Hornqvist said. “I think their defense really did a good job boxing out and their forwards blocked a lot of shots to make it hard for us. One of those tough losses and we just have to focus for the next one.”
“They did a great job of blocking and forcing us to miss the net a little bit,” Trotz said. “They collapsed and didn’t give us much room. Give full credit to them. They jumped on us. They best thing we can do is let this one go and get the one on Tuesday.”