A bid at another comeback fell short as the Nashville Predators dropped a 4-3 decision to the Calgary Flames on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result sees Nashville’s seven-game point streak come to an end, just the second time in their last 17 outings they’ve failed to record at least a point.
Despite Nashville’s ability to collect points in the standings with regularity as of late, the Preds have admitted there have been some holes in their game – a fact that may have been accented in Thursday’s loss.
“They all look the same – they’re not good enough,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said of Nashville’s recent games. “We’re not working hard enough. I don’t know what else to say. If you don’t invest a lot, you won’t like it at the end. The stretches that aren’t going our way, the stretches where we are getting outplayed – it’s because we are missing some bite. We’re missing some bite in our game.”
“We weren’t sharp,” Preds defenseman Yannick Weber said. “You don’t want to be chasing the game like we have in the past. I think we were all disappointed with the effort today. We know we had a chance in the third to win it, but I think overall we can’t be happy with it.”
Ryan Johansen got the Preds a 1-0 lead when he poked home a loose puck at the 13:45 mark of the first period, but Matthew Tkachuk evened the score on the power play with less than a minute to play in the opening 20.
The second period saw Viktor Arvidsson sprung on a breakaway halfway though, and after he hit the post, Weber followed things up to slam his second of the season past David Rittich to give Nashville a 2-1 lead. Another power-play opportunity – this time a 5-on-3 man advantage – saw the Flames tie it once more before the second stanza was out, thanks to a goal from Dougie Hamilton that eluded Pekka Rinne.
Calgary struck twice to open the third period, and although a goal from Nick Bonino gave the Preds yet another chance to force overtime, Rittich made a number of key saves late to save the victory for the Flames.
“Our energy – I think we’re losing too many battles,” Nashville Captain Roman Josi said. “It seems like teams are playing faster especially early in the game. We just have to win battles. You can’t win games if you don’t win battles.”
Nashville will have a chance to start a new streak on Saturday night when Detroit comes to town, a chance they’ll be eager to capitalize on after a string of efforts that have been less than satisfactory in the Predators locker room.
“We lost the game and we are better than that,” Laviolette said. “We know it. There’s no sugarcoating that.”
“It’s definitely a wake-up call that we can’t just watch and be satisfied and think we [will] still win every game,” Weber said. “Maybe we needed that one. It shows us that we do have to go back to the way we need to have success. We’ll do that Saturday.”
Predators center Kyle Turris missed Thursday’s game due to illness; forward Pontus Aberg entered the lineup in his absence.
Nashville’s home stand continues on Saturday night when the Detroit Red Wings come to town before finishing things off on Monday with the Ottawa Senators.