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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 16

Through Five Games, Predators Say Effort Improving Nightly

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

The fashion in which the Predators lost a 2-1 overtime contest in Chicago on Saturday night - particularly considering the controversial, game-tying goal late in regulation - undoubtedly brought feelings of frustration and deflation.

But over the course of an 82-game season, those nights are bound to happen, and chances are good that the Preds didn't spend much of their off day on Sunday replaying the final result in their minds.

"Pretty much immediately," forward Colton Sissons said when asked how quickly he lets the disappointment of a game like that float away. "We feel that if we play that way more often than not we're going to come out with two points. We left one on the board, so that was disappointing, but we did like our game a lot."

Indeed, five games into the 2016-17 campaign, the Predators have gotten better in each subsequent outing, according to Head Coach Peter Laviolette. Two losses to start the season in Boston and Pittsburgh gave way to victories at home against Philadelphia and Dallas.

Although Saturday night's efforts only yielded one goal, the elements present in Nashville's game - namely speed that was lacking to start - left a lot to like.

"I thought we played our best game last game against Chicago, just from a speed standpoint and being ready to play," Laviolette said. "Being competitive, fast legs, fast mind, that's the game you have to play right now. I thought it was our best execution of delivering that."

"For the most part, [the Chicago] game was great," Preds forward Filip Forsberg said. "Just the work ethic and the speed, those are the biggest things that we stand for and what we have to do well."

Of course, there are always items to improve on, with Forsberg and Sissons listing defensive prowess and neutral-zone play as two areas that may need extra attention in the early going.

"If we can limit turning pucks over in the neutral zone - teams counter so well - and it hurts when they sting you on those counters," Sissons said "If we clean it up and take good care of the puck, it'll only benefit us even more."

As the Predators prepare for their third consecutive divisional opponent with the upstart Colorado Avalanche in town on Tuesday, the speed game will come into play once more against a team that has gotten off to a 4-2-0 start.

It took the Preds a few weeks to play at the level they were expecting last season, but if the current on-ice play is any indication, that wait won't be nearly as long this time around.

"We're trending in the right direction," Sissons said. "We're getting better every single day, and we all believe that. We also still have that belief that no matter how many goals we're down or if we're not playing well, we still believe that we're going to end up winning that game whether our game is there or not."

Notes:

Captain Roman Josi, who has missed the past three games with a lower-body injury, skated once more during Monday's practice. Defenseman Yannick Weber (upper-body) and center Nick Bonino did not participate. Bonino, who left Saturday's game early and did not return, is still undergoing evaluation with an update likely on Tuesday.

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