Ryan Johansen scored Nashville’s lone goal on Tuesday night, as the Predators fell to the Carolina Hurricanes by a 4-1 final at Bridgestone Arena. The result sees Nashville’s three-game winning streak come to an end, as the season series between the two clubs finishes with one victory apiece.
The loss was disappointing for the Preds after a stellar weekend that saw them sweep a home-and-home set with the St. Louis Blues. Those results provided another boost of confidence into the locker room, and even though the group stated the importance of moving on from that high, Nashville was unable to muster much on the attack on Tuesday.
“Since I’ve been here, it’s the first time we did win three in a row, and then we came off a weekend where I think everyone feels good,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “We had a day off yesterday, and I didn’t have a great day off because [as a coach], you’re worried about where’s the mindset of your team. A lot of times you can get lost. You can get lost in a big win, and you can get lost in success, and the second that happens you get complacent.
“It’s human nature, but that’s something that, we didn’t handle the situation as well as we need to. But… we have bounced back after some bad losses. [Tonight], we didn’t bounce back and play the game, be prepared to play the game, the way you need to after two big wins and three in a row. That’s an area we certainly have to address and we have to approve.”
Carolina took the game’s first lead less than four minutes in when Jordan Staal beat Juuse Saros in tight for the only goal of the opening period.
The Predators responded quickly in the second stanza, as Johansen directed a puck out of the air and into the cage just 48 seconds into the period. Carolina challenged the play for goaltender interference, but the call stood in favor of the home team.
However, that was the only time the Preds beat Carolina netminder Petr Mrazek on the night. After Andrei Svechnikov and Nino Niederreiter put the Hurricanes up by two before the middle frame was out, Sebastian Aho got Carolina’s fourth and final marker early in the third to put the game away.
“Not a good game for us overall,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “I don’t think we had enough offense the whole game, and we couldn’t get anything going in the offensive zone. They had a lot more zone time than we did. We’ve got to be a lot more dangerous offensively.”
The Predators will now have a couple of days to regroup before another back-to-back set arrives this weekend involving the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets. As has been the case for the last number of weeks, every game at this point in the season carries vast importance, and each loss will make it tougher to attain a postseason spot.
With that in mind, Nashville has no choice but to learn from this outing, and then move on to the next opportunity for two points.
“We know how crucial every point is, so we can’t use [last weekend] as an excuse for not being ready tonight,” Johansen said. “It’s too bad we weren’t able to come out and get a win here again tonight to keep going in the right direction. We’ll take a day; we’ll look at everything and go from there.”
“At this point in the year, it doesn’t really matter what happened the day before, we’ve got to move on,” Preds forward Rocco Grimaldi said. “We’ve got Chicago on the road, and they’re right behind us in the standings. We need two points against them. Then, we’ve got Columbus coming into our building, and we have to make up for what we did tonight… We know what we’re getting into. It’s going to be two hard games starting on the road in Chicago.”
Colin Blackwell and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Tuesday night, as Nashville stuck with the same lineup of skaters once more.
Another back-to-back set arrives on Friday for Nashville as they start in Chicago against the Blackhawks. The Predators will then return home to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena.