James Neal and Matt Irwin scored for the Nashville Predators, but the Carolina Hurricanes tied the game in the third period before prevailing 3-2 in a shootout on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The loss is Nashville's second in a row via the breakaway competition, pushing their record to 3-5-3.
The Preds have collected points in three consecutive games for the first time this season, but that stat doesn't provide much of a relief for the club, unhappy with their effort at points in the game.
"I think we can be pretty satisfied with our first period, but that's it," Irwin said. "Our second period was as bad as it gets. That's on us in this room. That's going unprepared after that first period, putting that one behind you and pushing forward and trying to string 40 minutes together... It's disappointing, but there's no one else in here to blame but ourselves. We just have to be more prepared."
Neal got his second of the season on a breakaway midway through the first period before Jeff Skinner evened the score in the middle frame. For the third consecutive game, Preds defenseman Matt Irwin found the back of the net to give the Predators the lead once more heading into the second intermission, but midway through the third, Ron Hainsey scored shorthanded for the Hurricanes to tie things, 2-2.
Video: NSH Recap: Preds fall to Hurricanes, 3-2 in shootout
After a scoreless overtime, Cam Ward stopped all three Nashville shooters and Jaccob Slavin wristed the winner past Pekka Rinne.
"The excitement was here in the locker room before the game, but there is no excuse for the effort in the second period," Irwin said. "We have to be better. We know it in here, and there's no one to point the finger, but ourselves.
Video: Irwin and Johansen discuss their 3-2 shootout loss
It'll be back to work for the Predators on Monday before hosting the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday, as they look to find ways to improve their overall game.
"It's a concern with the inconsistency," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's not good enough, and that's the bottom line. Nobody is going to sit here and say that it's been good enough because it hasn't. We have to continue to work to get better. It's frustrating."
Video: Laviolette addresses his team's 3-2 shootout loss
"The best thing about it is that it's fixable," forward Colin Wilson said. "We have a lot of talent on this team. We just have to get the work ethic in it and things are going to be good from there. We' have to get there, but it's got to be better."
Matt Irwin is on a three-game goal streak for the second time in his career. He last scored a goal in three consecutive games from March 14-18, 2013, a career high.
Preds Captain Mike Fisher missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury.
The Preds home stand continues on Tuesday night when they host the Ottawa Senators at Bridgestone Arena.