The Nashville Predators couldn’t have been closer to tying their game against the Blackhawks on Tuesday in Chicago, almost rallying from a 3-0 deficit. But close doesn’t cut it in the NHL.
“We have to win hockey games, and it’s been frustrating because I feel like we’ve had that conversation too many times, so many times,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after Wednesday’s optional practice in Winnipeg. “At the end of the day, we have to win. Whether it’s a game that we’re happy with or a game that we’re not happy with, we have to find a way to win. It gets frustrating, I think, more than anything.”
The Preds fell for the fourth consecutive time, including 0-for-3 on their current four-game road trip, which will end tomorrow in Winnipeg against the Jets. The players and coaches know winning is everything in this business. But for a team going through a stretch like the Predators are at the moment, the fact they were able to register 43 shots against a Chicago team that has won eight straight and push them to the final horn – there’s something to build off there. Tomorrow evening’s outing provides an opportunity to do just that.
“We didn’t get the points we wanted, but the effort was there,” defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “You have to take some positives out of it. I think it was our best game of the trip so far, but at the end of the day, we need the points and that’s what it’s all about. It’s a winning business, and that’s what we’re looking to do.”
“I like the fact that our team didn’t quit last night,” Laviolette said. “We get down 3-0, and they battled hard, they played hard and they fought literally to the end. We have to try to build off of that. I know we have a tough game here tomorrow and I think our guys will be ready to play again.”
The Predators will have a bit of a different look tomorrow when they face the Jets, after making a number of roster moves on Wednesday.
The club recalled forwards Kevin Fiala and Cody Bass from Milwaukee of the AHL, assigned forward Viktor Arvidsson to Milwaukee and placed forward Colin Wilson on Injured Reserve - retroactive to Jan. 8 - with an upper-body injury. The Predators also placed forward Cody Hodgson on waivers.
Bass has two games of experience with the Preds this season, while Fiala could make his season debut after skating in one regular season game and one postseason contest in 2014-15. Fiala has 12 points (4g-8a) over his last 13 games with Milwaukee.