VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Barry Trotz
took the bait, but only because he truly was steaming mad.
When asked if he was more than just disappointed but instead mad -- or more -- at the way his team performed in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals, the Predators coach jumped right into a passionate description of his emotions following Thursday’s 1-0 loss at Rogers Arena.
"Yeah, I am, and I think there is a lot of guys in that room that should be [ticked] off," Trotz said from the podium. "We always talk about winning as a group, and the biggest disappointment you can have is when you have an expectation from someone who you want to go forward with every night and they're letting you down. We had too many passengers, not enough guys pulling on the rope. We are in the conference semifinal. Are you kidding me? Not acceptable."
Trotz was particularly upset with his group of 12 forwards. He didn't feel they competed hard enough.
The Predators were outshot by 30-20, including 26-11 in the first 40 minutes. They were outworked in the faceoff circle, losing 40 of 66 draws – and winning just three of 25 in the first period.
"Our compete level was not where it should be," he said. "We pride ourselves on being a really hard working team. I use the word relentless and resilient, but tonight we weren't relentless. We didn't skate. We didn't support the puck. We didn't play smart.
"To me, the biggest disappointment is we had some guys that played great," he continued. "I mean, Pekka Rinne
was fantastic. I thought our group of six defensemen was actually pretty good. Our group of forwards was not good at all. It was a frustrating, frustrating event for two periods."
Trotz agreed that the Predators got better in the third period, when they outshot Vancouver 9-4 and pushed for the equalizer that never came. Rinne said that could be something the Predators use for confidence going into Game 2 on Saturday.
"We still played well in the third period, but we can't be happy with the way we played the first 40 minutes," Rinne said. "That was just unacceptable. But I thought with our third period, I'm sure that gives us a little bit of confidence moving to the second game."
The only way it does is if Nashville comes out and works hard, Trotz said.
"The bottom line is at this level you've got to bring your 'A' game and we had a lot of guys that didn't bring their 'A' game," Trotz said. "I don't think we're satisfied, and that's why I was surprised that we weren't as good as we thought we might be. I know this group is not satisfied. Our goal is to win this series. We're going to have to reset. We're behind the eight ball."
Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter at: @drosennhl