Matt Murray recorded a shutout and the Nashville Predators fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins by a 4-0 score on Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena.
The loss is Nashville's second of the young season, after dropping both games of their opening road trip. The effort on Saturday night was one that brought more satisfaction than Thursday's efforts in Boston, but that was only so much consolation for a Preds team that finds themselves 0-2-0 early on.
"It's hard to say when you're losing 3-0 that it's a better effort, but for me, it's a step in the right direction, to play a game that we need to play," Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "But we've still got a long way to go with that, too."
It took Evgeni Malkin just 66 seconds into the contest to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead, before Jake Guentzel beat Juuse Saros on a rebound to make it 2-0 at the end of one period. Ryan Reaves tipped a shot from the point in the second stanza for Pittsburgh's third goal and then Olli Maatta made it four early in the third period, more than enough for the night.
"We were trying to establish some offensive identity, but they're a good team," Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm said. "We didn't execute when we got our chances. We've just got to find a way to bury it, and right now we're not doing that… I don't think we're heavily outplayed or anything, it's a matter of getting those chances in the net. But at the same time, we can be better."
From here, the Predators return home in search of their first win of the campaign, and they want nothing more than the chance to play in front of the home crowd once more.
"It's only two games, but we're behind the eight ball," Preds center Ryan Johansen said. "We need to win two games to get to .500 now… We're very comfortable playing [at home], and we need to go home and take care of business."
Video: NSH Recap: Offense absent in 4-0 loss to Pens
Kevin Fiala missed Saturday's game with an upper-body injury and is listed as day-to-day. Fiala, as well as defensemen Alexei Emelin and Samuel Girard were scratched for Nashville against the Penguins.
The Predators return to Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday night for their home opener and the unveiling of the 2017 Western Conference Championship banner during a pregame ceremony.