It’s just the second regulation loss at home for the Predators this season, as they finish the month of November with a 10-3-1 record, tied for the second-most wins in a single month in franchise history. And although the big picture is a positive one, it didn’t make Thursday’s result any easier to take.
“We had our looks and it didn’t go in for us,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I don’t think that we stopped playing, I just don’t think that we played very well defensively. I thought that we gave up too much… We gave up too much in the second and in the third. When you have a 3-2 lead going into the third, you can continue to push, but you have to do it inside of some structure. I thought that we lost the structure and they gained a lot of opportunities from it. We need to play better defense.”
After a scoreless first period, Nashville struck first when Craig Smith potted his ninth of the season by beating goaltender Anders Nilsson. Vancouver quickly tied it, but Filip Forsberg came right back and scored his team-leading 13th of the season and eighth on the power play for a 2-1 advantage. Loui Eriksson gave the Canucks their second goal of the night in the latter half of the second stanza, but less than three minutes later, Nick Bonino scored against one of his former clubs to give the Preds a lead headed into the intermission.
Forsberg’s goal on the power play marked the 12th-straight home game the Preds have converted this season – setting a franchise record.
The Predators had ample opportunities to score their fourth as the third period began, but they hit the post twice and then saw a puck come inches from crossing the goal line before the Canucks stormed back. Daniel Sedin recorded his 1,000th career point when he tied the game at three, and then Brock Boeser scored his second of the night to give Vancouver the first and only lead they’d need.
“We’re in this position in the standings for a reason,” Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban said. “We show up every night to play hard, but it’s hard when you just have those lapses. In the second period, I don’t think we did a good job at managing the puck and extended our shifts. We have to manage the puck better. They capitalized when we made mistakes, though, so you have to give them credit.”
After a stellar November, the Predators will enter the month of the December by hosting the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, their first visit to Nashville since falling in the Western Conference Final, a chance for the home team to start a new streak against a rival.
“It’s a disappointing night for us,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “We know we have to be a lot better. We want to play to a certain standard every game, and we definitely didn’t do that tonight, so it’s obviously disappointing for us. We have to make sure we show up on Saturday.”
Prior to Thursday’s game, defenseman Ryan Ellis joined the Preds on the ice for their morning skate as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. It was the first time Ellis has participated with his teammates this season.
The Predators finish the month of November with a 10-3-1 record, the 10th time in franchise history – and first time since February 2015 – the team has won at least 10 games in a month. The Preds have now won 10 games in the month of November three times (also: 2006 and 2014).
Nashville’s four-game homestand continues on Saturday night as they host the Anaheim Ducks at Bridgestone Arena before wrapping up against Boston on Monday.