For a team that was trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the Predators didn’t begin tonight’s contest the way they wanted.
Justin Faulk opened the scoring for Carolina just 23 seconds into the game and the Hurricanes carried the play for most of the first period as well (despite ultimately being outshot 4-7).
Nashville showed some resiliency as the Preds were able to seize a 2-1 lead with two goals in the first three minutes of the second period, but two mistakes led to the Canes registering a two-on-one goal and ultimately the game-winning goal a little more than five minutes later. Carolina scored a back-breaking goal with 50 seconds left in the second frame, going up by two goals and putting the chances at a Predators comeback very much in doubt.
The Predators entered the third period with some jump in their game, but their chances at rallying from two goals down were crushed by two costly penalties that gave the Canes just under 90 seconds of a five-on-three power play. Forced to focus on defense with time ticking away, the Preds found themselves on the short end of the stick for the fourth straight game. Jeff Skinner added an empty goal at the 17:53 mark of the 3rd period, registering his first career hat trick.
After the game, Gabriel Bourque shared his thoughts on the loss and the team’s now four-game losing streak.
“When they score a goal that fast you just have to try and focus on your game and we got the lead back, but then we made some bad mistakes and it ended up really costing us,” Bourque said.
Head coach Barry Trotz seemed exasperated in his post game press conference saying, “If Stalberg scores on that second period breakaway we’re up 3-1 and we’re probably talking about us having a 5-2 win. But he’s denied and then we don’t get a save on a two-on-one and that’s followed by a costly giveaway and we’re sitting here with a loss.”
It’s hard to ignore the fact that this is a team really searching for answers right now. The news on Pekka Rinne’s MRI earlier today was pretty positive and Kevin Klein’s early return to the lineup was a blessing, but this is a squad that continues to have defensive breakdowns at key points in the game and repeatedly fails to put the puck in the net. Certainly not a recipe for success.