Patric Hornqvist scored twice against his former club, and the Nashville Predators fell by a 4-2 final to the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night. The result in Nashville’s first game out of the All-Star Break sees their five-game point streak come to an end, but still features an impressive 7-2-1 mark in their last 10.
Solid first and third periods bookended a middle frame that saw the Preds allow three goals, a 20-minute stretch that Head Coach Peter Laviolette called “awful.”
“They’re a good team, and they’re going to make good plays… but for our group [in the second], we had turnovers; we weren’t moving our feet,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “The first and third were good, but the second, we lost it in the second.”
“I thought the first period we were good, third period we were good, just that 20 minutes there in the second period, we let off the gas,” forward Ryan Johansen said. “Like we always talk about, especially with the losses, you have to play 60 minutes, especially with a team like them. They made us pay there in the second, so that was the game.”
Calle Jarnkrok gave the Predators a 1-0 lead in the first period when he poked a loose puck past Matt Murray to extend his point streak to a season-high three games, but four-straight goals from Chris Kunitz, Trevor Daley, and two off the stick of Hornqvist was all the Penguins needed to claim the win.
Colin Wilson pulled the Preds to within two when he converted on the power play with a determined individual effort, but that was as close as the Preds came to a comeback.
“The third period, we played hard again and scored a goal looking to close the gap on that and couldn’t get it done,” Laviolette said. “We left it too far hanging going into the third period with a terrible second.”
It was one and done on the road for the Preds, as they’ll head home to host Edmonton on Thursday with six more points up for grabs on a three-game home stand.
“We’re going to have to learn from this,” Ellis said. “We had a streak going, we were playing really good hockey and we need to regroup, refocus and come back next game better.”
Defenseman Roman Josi skated with the team this morning, but did not play Tuesday and remains on Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury. Brad Hunt, Derek Grant and Mike Ribeiro were scratched against the Penguins.
Colin Wilson earned his third multi-point game of the season on Thursday while scoring his seventh of the campaign, surpassing last season’s total.
The Preds fell in regulation for the first time this season after scoring the first goal of the game. They are now 15-1-5 when they tally the game’s opening goal.
The Preds return to Nashville for a three-game home stand, beginning on Thursday night when they host Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers. Thunder Radio will bring you live coverage on the Fifth Third Bank/Nashville Predators Radio Network immediately following our coverage of the Mayor’s Cup basketball games at Westwood.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report