James Neal notched his first goal of the season, but it wasn't enough as the Nashville Predators dropped a 4-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night at SAP Center.
Down two goals in the third period, Nashville pushed hard to put the puck in the net, but Martin Jones and the Sharks ultimately staved off the pressure to hand the Preds their third defeat in as many games.
"We felt like we were coming and doing some pretty good things defensively, starting to get more offense and get some shots through, but we just couldn't find it," Captain Mike Fisher said. "Jones made some good saves late, and we just didn't get those breaks. We've just got to find a way… It's not going for us right now, but we have to just keep plugging away."
After the Sharks took a 3-0 lead early in the second period, Neal gave the Preds life with less than a minute remaining in the middle frame, tipping in a Ryan Ellis shot. The Preds had their chances in the third, registering a significant amount of sustained offensive zone pressure, but couldn't break through.
Video: NSH@SJS: Neal's redirect finds the twine
Nashville liked the way they responded in the latter portions of the game, but as Head Coach Peter Laviolette echoed, it's never easy to try and come from behind.
"We have to find a way to come out in these games and score the first goal and get a lead and try and build off of it from there, as opposed to always trying to chase the game from behind and never having that comfort of being up a goal," Laviolette said. "I thought we fought in the third period, but it's tough coming down from 3-0. [Neal's] goal was a big goal at the time, there wasn't much time left on the clock, but falling into those holes like that is not helping."
After falling in all three games on the current trip, the Preds have no choice but to keep playing, starting Tuesday in Colorado.
"We feel like we're just not playing up to our potential right now," Fisher said. "You know you're a better team, and when you're not getting results, it's frustrating. But at the same time, we've gone through this before and it's how you come out of it, how you learn, how you become a team. We're going to do that, look back in a few weeks, and we'll pull it together."