Two goals from Eeli Tolvanen weren't enough as the Predators rookies fell to the Washington Capitals prospects, 8-5, on Tuesday afternoon to conclude the 2018 NHL Prospects Showcase.
Nashville never had a lead in the game, and although they made a late push with three goals in the third, it wasn't the result they were hoping to finish with as the trip comes to an end.
Still, the Preds finished the tournament with two wins in three tries, and as Milwaukee Admirals Head Coach Karl Taylor explained, not all was lost with one bad taste at the conclusion.
"The weekend was a success in my opinion," Taylor said. "We're trying to implement our culture and some of the ways we want to play, but we'd like to have today back."
Video: Highlights from Nashville's 8-5 loss
"I think this was the most productive rookie tournament I've been a part of," Preds defenseman Jack Dougherty said. "Systematically, we were pretty sound. Usually it's a lot of guys running around and trying to prove everything… but that wasn't the case this year. We did a good job with that."
After Washington made it 1-0 in the opening frame, the line of Justin Kirkland, Yakov Trenin and Mathieu Oliver combined for a tally, with Kirkland finishing things off in front to even the score.
The Capitals got another before the first period was out, however, and they scored two more early in the second stanza to take a 4-1 lead. Tolvanen got his first of the tournament when he finished off a 2-on-1 opportunity with Colin Blackwell to cut the lead to 4-2.
Video: Tolvanen is looking forward to training camp
Nashville added three more in the third, with Anthony Richard, Zach Magwood and Tolvanen - for a second time - finding the back of the net, but it wasn't enough to overcome Washington's effort.
The rookies will now head back to Nashville for the commencement of Predators main training camp on Thursday, and they can't wait to get started.
"To get up to game speed before you go into camp, I think you get a leg up on most guys that don't get to play," Dougherty said. "A big part of that is getting confidence here and playing your game and building that confidence to go into main camp."
"It's huge for us to get in games… and feel confidence," Tolvanen said. "I'm excited to go there and try my best."
Video: Coach Taylor sums up his team's weekend
For Taylor, this was the first opportunity he's had to see firsthand many of the players he's likely to have in Milwaukee this upcoming season. Whether it was implementing systems to testing out different line combinations and defensive pairings, plenty was accomplished over the past four days.
Of course, Nashville would have preferred to finish with a clean sweep in the tournament, but from a nuts and bolts standpoint, this was about as good as it could have been for the Preds.
"You take a moment and evaluate what you did well and what you did poorly, but now you get to go into camp ready to play," Taylor said. "You can get a fresh start, and hopefully the guys get a little bit of a bump being here and playing these games."