The Nashville Predators saw their postseason run come to an end on Thursday night, as they fell 5-0 to the San Jose Sharks in Game Seven of their Second Round series.
After winning three elimination games in these playoffs, the Preds weren’t able to overcome their second Game Seven of the postseason, leading to the end of their journey.
“You have to give [the Sharks] credit for the way they played,” Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “It’s disappointing for us, coming off a game like we did in Game Six. We know we’re capable of playing at that level and that speed, and it wasn’t our best game.”
“They were the better team tonight for whatever reason,” Captain Shea Weber said. “We couldn’t get anything going, and it’s just tough. It’s tough to take right now.”
The first period belonged to the Sharks as they took a 2-0 lead, courtesy of goals from Joe Pavelski and Joel Ward. San Jose outshot the Preds 17-3 in the opening frame as Pekka Rinne made a number of stops to keep his team in things after one.
Logan Couture’s goal early in the second gave San Jose a 3-0 lead, a score that held steady after the middle stanza. Nashville began to get more chances in the period, but the Sharks thwarted them, with 19 blocked shots through 40 minutes of play.
The Sharks added two more in the third to finish off the series and advance to the Western Conference Final.
For the Preds, there were plenty of magical moments in this postseason. But that doesn’t make the ending any easier to take.
“We worked so hard to get to this point, and you realize that you’re one step from [somewhere] that we haven’t been [before],” Rinne said. “You never know how many chances you’re going to get, and that’s the worst feeling. You get older and older and you try to take advantage of these opportunities. Right now, it’s a pretty empty feeling.”
It’s difficult to think of the future in the present, but Rinne also shed some light as the locker room cleared out for the final time in 2015-16.
“I felt the whole season was filled with ups and downs,” Rinne said. “You have to realize we have a ton of talent in this team and a lot of future in this team, but I think the moments like this, it’s hard to think of the future and hard to think next season. I don’t know if it’s selfish or not, but you always think that maybe it’s your year, your season right now and our opportunity and our season, but it makes it difficult. But there’s obviously…light at the end of the tunnel, a bright future.”