Nick Bonino scored Nashville's lone goal as the Predators fell to the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1, on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result pushes Nashville's winless streak to five games, as they drop their first meeting of the season with their division rival.
Preds goaltender Juuse Saros stopped 23 shots on the night and the home team managed 39 shots at the Winnipeg net, but as was the case in Saturday's loss, Nashville couldn't get much to fall in their favor.
Under normal circumstances, a 2-1 loss wouldn't necessarily elicit frustrated responses from the participants. However, considering their current situation, Tuesday's result left another disappointing taste with the Predators.
"We're in a results-oriented business," Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's about winning hockey games, and so you try to get better and move in the right direction. I think the guys for the most part did that. I thought we played the game the right way. It's difficult because you come out on the wrong side of it."
"I guess it's a better overall effort, I thought we played hard the whole time, but we got no points," Bonino said. "We need two points, and it doesn't matter how hard we work or how good we played. They got two points and we didn't. Especially these couple weeks where we're playing division games, you just can't have it."
It only took the Jets 18 seconds to take a 1-0 lead, which came courtesy of Patrik Laine, and Nikolaj Ehlers gave the visitors a 2-0 advantage early in the second period. But before the stanza was out, Rocco Grimaldi made a slick feed in front to Bonino, and the Nashville centerman buried his ninth of the season, good enough to tie for the team lead in goals and get his club on the board.
Video: WPG@NSH: Bonino fires home wrist shot
The Predators put 16 more shots on Connor Hellebuyck in the final frame, but Bonino's goal was as close as they came to finding at least a point in the standings.
"We talked about it this morning - very rarely do you do anything perfect in sports," Laviolette said. "We were talking about the details of the game. You can't be perfect with your game, but if you can be better on your details, if you can eliminate some of the problems that are going on the ice might give you a better opportunity to move forward and win hockey games, and I thought we did that. I didn't think it was a reckless game… We had opportunities and looks, we couldn't get it done again."
There was plenty of dissatisfaction to go around in the immediate aftermath on Tuesday, but sulking won't do the Predators any good. Instead, there's nothing they can do but look forward to Thursday's meeting with the Canucks, another chance to end the skid and get back to the team the Preds know they can be.
"When you're in a bad stretch, you lose two, three, four or whatever in a row, you've just got to band together, stick together and come out of it," Grimaldi said. "It's actually good we're going through this. It's good that we're going through this in November. Hopefully this is something that we can learn from and it can bond us together. It can grow us because there's still a lot of season left, 55, 60 games or whatever. So, hopefully this is something that will bond us and bring us closer together as the year goes on."
Video: NSH Recap: Bonino scores in 2-1 loss to Jets
Forward Kyle Turris, as well as defensemen Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber were scratched for the Preds against the Jets.
Forward Mathieu Olivier made his NHL debut on Tuesday night with the Predators and finished with one shot and three hits in 8:03 of ice time.
Defenseman Steven Santini made his Predators on Tuesday evening and recorded one shot and one hit in 9:03 of ice time.
Nashville's three-game homestand concludes on Thursday night when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. The Predators then start a home-and-home set with the Blues in St. Louis on Saturday, before returning to Bridgestone Arena on Monday.