Christian Fischer scored in overtime as the Nashville Predators fell to the Arizona Coyotes by a 3-2 final on Thursday night at Gila River Arena. It’s the second loss in as many games for the Preds on their current road trip, giving Arizona just their 10th win of the season.
After owning a 2-1 lead late in regulation, the Preds let the Coyotes tie it on the power play with less than three minutes to play. Fischer’s OT goal – a play that was reviewed twice, once to see if the net was knocked off, the other for goaltender interference – was ultimately upheld.
“We put ourselves in a position where we took a penalty and then played a really poor overtime,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We didn’t think at all during the overtime, so the ending sticks out.”
“It doesn’t matter [who the opponent is], every team is good,” Nashville Captain Roman Josi said. “There are no easy games in this League, and it’s a point we lost. It doesn’t matter which team it is, we go out there to win every game and whenever you don’t do that, you’re disappointed.”
The Predators put 17 shots on net in the first period, but didn’t have anything to show for it on the scoreboard, and then in the middle frame, it was Anthony Duclair who drove to the net and beat Juuse Saros to give Arizona a 1-0 lead.
Compared to the opening stanza, Nashville had trouble generating much in the later portions of the second, but with just nine ticks remaining, Ryan Ellis potted his first of the season in just his second game of the campaign to even things at one.
Then, just eight seconds into the third period, Craig Smith stole the puck from Oliver Ekman-Larsson and snapped a shot over the shoulder of Antti Raanta to give the Preds their first lead of the night. But Smith’s 14th of the season was the last of the night for the Preds, as Arizona added two goals more to only give Nashville a single point in the standings.
Instead of forgetting about this one and moving on, the Preds say they’d like to use it as motivation as they conclude their road trip on Saturday night in Los Angeles against one of the best in the West, a chance for Nashville to begin to break out of their current 2-4-2 stretch.
“You never want these stints to happen, but we have a lot of tremendous players in here and we’ll find a way to get our game where we want it to be,” Predators center Ryan Johansen said. “We just have to do that on Saturday and get back to our game as soon as possible.”
“I think we’ll let it burn a little bit for tonight,” Josi said. “We have to come back tomorrow morning, look at a couple things, but after that we have to focus on L.A. and make sure we’re ready for that game.”
Craig Smith’s goal eight seconds into the third period set a record for the fastest goal from the start of the third period on the road in franchise history. The tally is also just two seconds off the franchise record for fastest goal from the start of a period.
The Predators conclude their three-game trip on Saturday night in Los Angeles (at 9:30 p.m. CT) before returning home to host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena.
Pete Weber’s Post Game Report