The Nashville Predators fell 3-2 in a shootout to the Dallas Stars last night, the very team they were trying to desperately catch in the standings.
The loss officially eliminated the Predators from playoff contention, as the team cannot mathematically accumulate enough points to catch the Stars in the standings over the remaining three games of the season.
Nashville’s postseason chances were at 0.3 percent according to Sports Club Stats entering last night’s contest, but winners of three-straight games, the Predators had recently generated a certain level of belief amongst themselves and their fan base.
However, last night’s loss was a microcosm of the Predators reoccurring issues and mistakes present all season long. Once again, the shootout was the death blow to the Predators. Sometimes sports are beyond coincidental.
Stars blueliner Alex Goligoski sniped a puck past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne early in the contest and the Predators had trouble settling into the game after that defensive mistake. An exchange of goals in the second period had Nashville staring at a 2-1 deficit to begin the 3rd period and just 20 minutes to stave off elimination.
Nashville forward Gabriel Bourque tied the game with under ten minutes left, but no other goals for the rest of regulation and overtime sent the Predators to a place they’ve been far too often. With only two wins in the shootout all year and losses almost too numerous to count, the away team fell short in the skills competition.
The season series tied at two, the home team had won all of the previous meetings. And in the fifth and final installment yesterday, the Stars kept with the course of history.
A frustrating season for the Predators ended the same way it has so many times this year: insufficient offense in regulation, too many mistakes and not enough skill in the shootout.
They say history repeats itself and at least right now, that feels very, very true.
So now, it’s over. No more time to turn it around. No more time to fix things. For the second-straight year, it’s no playoffs for the Predators.