It’s bound to happen over the course of an 82-game season. Things aren’t going to come up roses every night for every team. That’s the case for the Nashville Predators right now, who have fallen in five-straight contests, their longest losing streak of the campaign.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; in fact, the opposite can be said, especially after the effort put forth by the Preds in a 4-3 loss on Thursday against the New York Islanders. A couple more shots that are an inch to the right or left, and Nashville easily walks away with a win.
“Nobody goes through an entire season without, at some point, not playing exactly the way they want or not getting the results that they want,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said after Friday’s practice. “We’ve had a combination of both over the last 10 games. Where we haven’t gotten the results that we want, and we’ve had some nights we haven’t gotten the game that we want.
“I’m pretty honest about an effort; I’m pretty honest about what I see on the ice. There were games that I was not happy with the way that we played, and [Thursday] night [against the Islanders] was not one of them.”
The players feel that win No. 42 is close as well, and Thursday night’s effort was more than just one stride in the right direction.
“It’s one of those things where we have to stick with it,” defenseman Cody Franson said. “There’s a lot of positives we can take out of [Thursday], and a couple bounces here or there, that game can go a lot of different ways. It’s not something we want to hang our heads about. We want to stay positive with an effort like that and continue into the next game with it.”
Nashville’s bench boss agrees and says he has seen plenty of instances like this over his career. And as has been the case throughout the season, the Predators are looking ahead to the future, starting with Saturday’s game against Winnipeg.
“There’s no divide in there, there’s no finger pointing or name calling, it’s just a tough time for our team right now,” Laviolette said. “We’ve got a tight group, and they played a hard game last night. Like I said, it didn’t go our way, so we’ll look to come back and play a hard game again tomorrow night and change the fortune and the outcome. That’s really where we are [as a group].”
“I think this group does a very good job of managing emotions and not being fragile, and that’s a sign of a good team and a strong room,” Franson said. “I think we have a pretty good feeling in our room right now. Guys are ready to get back on the horse and get back at it.”
Injury News and Lineup Update:
Preds forward Eric Nystrom, who was injured during Tuesday night’s game in New Jersey, will be out for the next four weeks with a lower-body injury. Nystrom was the only skater not on the ice for Friday’s practice.
The lines were as follows during the session:
Forsberg – Ribeiro – Smith
Wilson – Fisher – Neal
Cullen – Jarnkrok – Santorelli
Bourque – Gaustad – Beck
Josi – Weber
Jones – Franson
Ekholm – Ellis
Volchenkov (IR) – Bartley
Roman Josi on the feeling in the locker room right now:
“Obviously you never want to go on a losing streak like that, but like we said before, we’ve got to take the positives out of this. This can be a good thing if you learn from it, and then end it as soon as possible. Even in losses, you’ve got to learn from it and take the positives out of it. There’s going to be times where you face adversity, so it’s that time right now. We’ve just got to find a way as a group to get out of it.”
Cody Franson on facing the Jets on Saturday:
“I think they’re a group of guys that works really hard. They’ve got a lot of size and speed and guys that play pretty heavy on the puck. We have to do a good job of being strong down low and eliminating their cycle game and puck management. They don’t give you too much, they’re pretty strong structurally and they make you earn what you get. We’re going to have to be strong down low and manage the puck well.”
Peter Laviolette on facing adversity:
“When you’re not experiencing success, you always come in to work and you take that with you a little bit. You look to work to get out of it, and I think that’s where the guys are at right now. I don’t sense that there’s a feeling of negativity at all, I don’t feel a sense of doubt, it just hasn’t gone our way. We’ll continue to work at it and try to get better in certain areas. There are some tough bounces that haven’t gone our way as well, and usually that swings around at some point and goes the other direction.”