They came back to salvage a point, but the Nashville Predators ultimately fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2, in a shootout on Wednesday night at the Air Canada Centre. The result snaps Nashville’s three-game win streak but still gives them points in 12 of their last 13 games.
It’s also the second consecutive game that has seen Nashville come back from multi-goal deficit to record at least a point, an impressive showing of resilience, but they simply ended up on the wrong side of the shootout in Toronto.
Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen starred on the night, making 44 saves in total (and six more in the shootout) to give his team the win.
“Their goalie played really well,” Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought we got going in the second period and third period and had lots of looks, lots of opportunities, but their goalie played really well tonight. You have to give him credit, but it’s tough. You battle back in a game like that and goes to a shootout and you lose, so it’s not that you’re completely disappointed with the way you played, but you hate the result at the end of the night.”
“We created a lot of chances and Andersen played a really strong game and gave them a chance,” Preds goaltender Pekka Rinne said. “We’ll take that point, but anytime you play a good game like that, it’s disappointing to lose.”
James van Riemsdyk gave Toronto a 1-0 lead after one period of play, and Kasperi Kapanen extended the lead to two when he beat Rinne for a shorthanded marker in the second stanza. But before the middle period was out, Colton Sissons capitalized to sneak one past Andersen to get the Preds on the board and give them life heading into the third.
In fact, it took just 25 seconds into the final frame for Viktor Arvidsson to wire home his team-leading 18th of the season, and the Preds continued to pellet pucks at Andersen, but he continued to turn the Preds aside through the rest of regulation and overtime.
Ryan Ellis scored for the Preds in the seven-round shootout, but Andersen ended it when he stopped Arvidsson to finish the night.
From here, the Predators head to Ottawa to face the Senators on Thursday night in the second half of the back-to-back set in Ontario, with Kyle Turris set to make his return to the Canadian capital.
And while the Preds will hope to have a lead heading into the third period this time around, recent events have shown they might just find a way no matter what happens.
“We’re sticking to our game plan and not trying to change too much,” Rinne said. “We kept playing like we were playing and that worked for us. Even after that tying goal we had a few really good chances and just couldn’t bury them.”
Predators forward Calle Jarnkrok skated in his 300th career game on Wednesday in Toronto.
Ryan Ellis recorded a helper on Colton Sissons’s goal and is now one assist away from 100 in his NHL career.
Nashville’s eastern Canada swing continues on Thursday when Kyle Turris returns to Ottawa to face his former club for the first time (at 6:30 p.m. CT). The Preds then wrap things up on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Pete Weber’s Postgame Report