The Nashville Predators completed a six game road trip by giving away a game to the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 2-1.
The Predators played two scoreless periods against the Canucks before taking a 1-0 lead just 37 seconds into the third period when Shea Weber potted his 9th goal of the season with a wrist shot over a sprawling Roberto Luongo.
That lead lasted until 10:39 of the period when Dan Hamhuis shot a puck toward the net that pinballed through traffic and laned at the feet of cheap shot artist Alex Burrows. Burrows was surrounded by three Predators but not tied up by any of them and was able to backhand the puck past Pekka Rinne.
Vancouver would tally the game winner as the Predators had the puck on the stick of Joel Ward with an opportunity for an easy clear. Instead, Ward fell and turned the puck over to Daniel Sedin. Sedin slid the puck to Lee Sweatt, playing in his first NHL game, and he blew a shot past Rinne.
The Predators has some opportunities late in the game, but could not get a puck past Luongo, and were left with the bitter taste of what might have been. Frankly, the Predators deserved better, but as has been their habit, they did not close out a game that they could have won.
Beyond two defensive breakdowns that cost them, the Predators were victimized by an impotent effort on the power play. The man advantage unit went 0 for 5 in this game. This has to change after the All Star break for the Predators to win these types of games.
I hate losing a game like this, and I know the team does even more than I. There are a lot of positives to take away from this road trip, and those are the aspects on which the team should focus. They won some tough games against quality opponents. The lineup at times was mix and match due to injuries, yet was competitive and productive. This group showed character and heart.
The break for the All Star competition comes at a much needed time. The team needs some rest and the time to allow some of the wounded warriors to return. The time will be good for the guys to relax and recharge their batteries and get focused on the remaining 32 games that lie ahead.
Know that in these remaining games, you are going to have to bring it, boys. Look at the positives of these first 50 games and build on them. Learn from the mistakes and tighten up your effort.
Get ready to bring it and make some noise in these last 32 games.
My three stars:
1. Lee Sweatt
2. Shea Weber
3. Roberto Luongo