The Nashville Predators played another shootout game, this time with the New York Rangers, their fifth of the season. They lost the shootout 1-0 to drop a 2-1 decision and fall to a record of 9-8-5. With the point, the Predators now stand at 23 points on the season.
The Predators opened the scoring at 5:10 of the first period as Colin Wilson beat Henrik Lundqvist high glove side to stake the Predators to a 1-0 lead. That lead would stand until 13:04 of the third period when Ryan Callahan would take a shot that hit the stick of J.P. Dumont and changed direction and skidded by Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne to tie the game.
Neither team would solve the others netminder for the remainder of the third period and the overtime session.
In the shootout, Eric Christensen would tally the only score. Cal O'Reilly, Marcel Goc, and Martin Erat could not beat Lundqvist, and the Rangers skated away with the victory.
There have been times this season where the Predators have not competed with their opponent. That was not the case tonight, as the Predators challenged Lundqvist on numerous occasions and matched the physicality of the Rangers. The Predators answered the bell tonight and were physical and played solid defense, elements of their game that had been missing in previous contests.
There are times where a team hits a rough stretch and just does not get the bounces and breaks they need to win a game. Right now, the Predators are going through that type of stretch. The way you come out of a period like this is to compete- compete hard- and show character and battle. Tonight, the Predators did those things.
I normally don't comment about officiating. I think the calls have a way of evening themselves out, but tonight Don Van Massenhoven and Dean Morten called an absolutely atrocious game. Cody Franson was sent to the the hospital for evaluation after being hit in the throat with a high stick and there was no call. Pekka Rinne was called for delay of game for playing a puck outside the trapezoid when it was clear that he was inside the box. The officiating did not decide this game, but it was awful. Kudos to the Predators for overcoming an horribly officiated game.
The Predators are not getting any breaks right now. They are not making their breaks. This is a time for the leaders of the team to step up and keep the boys positive and battling every night. This is how you get out of the funk that the team finds itself. This is how you reverse your fortunes.
There is no respite for any team that goes through these stretches. There is, however, another game, another opportunity to reverse the fortunes that have beset this team. Compete hard and the puck will start to bounce your way. Compete hard and fortune will smile on this team.
Time to keep your head up and bring it on Tuesday night.
My three stars:
1. Henrik Lundqvist
2. Pekka Rinne
3. Eric Christensen