Spotting the opposition another three-goal, first period lead for the second straight game, the Predators fell again Monday night, this time 6-2 to the Boston Bruins.
Another home game in which Nashville was trailing before many fans even were in their seats, the Bruins found twine at the 1:16 and 5:59 marks of the first period. The Preds turnstile setup in goal continued as Carter Hutton was replaced by Marek Mazanec after giving up two goals on four shots.
The penalty woes also continued for the home club as the Bruins tallied three goals on three opportunities with the man advantage.
“We didn’t start well, and obviously they buried what we gave them,” Predators forward Mike Fisher said.
The Bruins first power play goal of the night, near the midpoint of the first period, put Nashville behind 3-0 in the first frame for the second time in three nights. A very troublesome position to be in for a squad that has scored the fewest times in the Western Conference.
Much like they were on Saturday night against Montreal, however, Nashville was the better team in the second period and managed to cut the Bruins lead to 3-1 after 40 minutes.
As we noted yesterday, if there is one bright spot with the Predators play right now it is their power play. The seventh-best man advantage in the NHL accounted for both Preds goals on Monday, as Craig Smith tallied two power play goals to pull the Preds with in one early in the third period.
Another miraculous comeback (similar to Saturday’s game against the Canadiens) seemed in the cards for a fleeting moment, but costly mistakes wrenched control out of Nashville’s hands just after they thought they’d seized it.
Less than a minute after making the game 3-2, the Predators took two minor penalties in 23 seconds; giving the Bruins a five-on-three power play for 97 seconds.
“Then we just got into penalty trouble. We kind of killed ourselves,” Fisher explained. “We’ve got to be smarter about [penalties], we need to know the situations and find ways to claw ourselves back into the [game].”
The Bruins poured it on from there, scoring on both power plays and adding a sixth goal for good measure later in the third.
“Obviously we’re not happy with ourselves,” Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said. “We keep doing the same mistakes, over and over. We can lose hockey games, sure–we can’t be happy about it–but it’s worse when we do it the same way every single game. We have to learn something from our mistakes.”
An especially frustrating loss for the Predators because the “same ole” storyline played itself out again. Taking avoidable penalties, defensive breakdowns and no consistent offensive pressure we’re the foundations of the plot.
Now with three days off over the Christmas break, the club has little choice but to reflect upon their four-game losing streak and hope when they return to the ice, their identity does as well.