“That was our best effort, but the worst result.”
Nashville Predators Head Coach Peter Laviolette adequately summed up his team’s 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Thursday evening. The defeat was the Preds first of the 2015-16 season, and moves their record to 3-1-0.
After not eclipsing 30 shots on goal in any of their first three games, Nashville pounded 47 shots on the New York cage, the second-highest road total in franchise history. Despite getting back to the high-possession, high-shot total game that worked so well last season, the Preds found themselves on the wrong side of the ledger.
“That was our best game of the year by a mile, not even close. Also the worst result of the year by a mile,” Laviolette said. “I went over a lot of things and the guys knew we hadn’t met our potential yet offensively. We just reviewed some things and we were pretty quick in the neutral zone and in the offensive zone we hemmed them in and kept a lot of pucks alive… we like an awful lot about the game tonight, just not the score.”
The Predators held a 2-0 advantage in the second period, due to forwards Austin Watson and Filip Forsberg both fighting for loose pucks in the New York crease.
In the opening period, Watson fought hard to steer the puck back into the blue paint and Isles defenseman Marek Zidlicky then drove a clearing attempt into his own net. Early in the middle frame, Forsberg forced the puck across the goal line to put Nashville up 2-0.
“We felt like we played a good game, we pushed the pace right from the start, with close to 50 shots, but it’s tough giving up a lead like that,” Watson said.
New York evened the contest before the end of the second period off tallies from Anders Lee and Kyle Okposo. Leading in shots 34-20 through 40 minutes, the Predators would fall behind for the first time at any point in the season in the final frame.
In the third, Nikolay Kulemin chipped a rebound off the endboards over Pekka Rinne’s stick and John Tavares put the home team up by two roughly five minutes later. James Neal’s deflection goal at 14:36 of the third, which was challenged by Isles Head Coach Jack Capuano but upheld, pulled the Predators within a goal late, but the equalizer never came for Nashville.
“I thought we played well overall, but I thought we gave them a couple or too many chances,” Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “They’re a good team; they capitalized on their opportunities. All in all, I thought we deserved a little better, but that’s the way hockey is sometimes.”
Gif of the Game:
After the puck squirts out onto the Islanders goal line, former Preds d-man Marek Zidlicky accidently clears the biscuit into his team’s net.
Playing in his second game of the season, Watson talked about getting a fortunate bounce to tally his first goal of the campaign.
“It was nice, it was a little fortunate with the bounce in front, but it was a good play by the D to get the puck through the traffic and then [we had] guys in front,” Watson said.
Austin Watson’s first period goal was his second career NHL goal and his first since the 2012-13 season.
The Predators penalty kill was perfect for the third time in four games, upping their mark to 11 kills in a dozen attempts.
Nashville will travel to Ottawa to face the Senators on Saturday night, their third and final game of their current road trip, and first contest in Canada this season.
This evening’s infographic details the location of each goal in comparison to the net and the goalies’ positioning.
Infographic: Preds Fall in Brooklyn