The Predators four-game road trip concluded with a 1-2-1 mark after Nashville fell, 5-3, to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night at Rogers Arena.
The Predators clawed back into the game on multiple occasions, tying the game at 2-2 in the third period and then again at 4-3 with 5:34 left in regulation, but three power-play goals for the Canucks defined the evening.
“Definitely a frustrating game,” Preds center Ryan Johansen said. “We feel like we did a lot of good things. The first period was OK, but after that, I thought we played a good game. Obviously, they had three power-play goals, and they have good players over there, good young team, lots of skill and you can’t give them that many chances. A couple unfortunate bounces too on the goals, but it was a frustrating one because we felt a little unlucky.”
“It’s tough,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “Guys played hard and kept fighting back in the game and just couldn’t get there.”
Tuesday’s 5-3 loss wasn’t a particularly poor effort – the Predators recorded a season-high 19 shots in the second period – but it also wasn’t a quality enough performance to claim two points. On some nights, average execution is enough for a win, but when a few losses start to pile up in a row it can feel like only a near-perfect game plan is enough to claim a victory.
“It’s a little inconsistent,” Preds forward Filip Forsberg said. “We want to come out and carry the play, and I think we think we’re doing OK in the first period, but they were better – and we’re not OK with that.”
It took until the second period for someone to find the back of the net, and it was Tanner Pearson, who gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead. Nashville evened it up at 13:35 of the period when the new-look line of Calle Jarnkrok, Matt Duchene and Viktor Arvidsson got the puck to the net, and Jarnkrok slapped home a loose puck for a 1-1 draw through 40 minutes.
Both clubs found their offense in the third, and Elias Pettersson scored twice for the Canucks, including what proved to be the game-winner. Mikael Granlund redirected a point shot for Nashville’s second goal, and Forsberg tallied on the power play to record a goal for the fourth-consecutive game, but that was as close as the Preds came.
After four games and 10 days on the road, the Predators are now looking forward to getting back home – a chance to get in a pair of productive practice days before hosting Chicago on Saturday night as they look to snap their losing streak.
“It’s the end of a long road trip for us, lots of traveling, four time zones as well,” Johansen said. “We’ll get back, take a couple of days, and then take our next game and play our brand of hockey and our best hockey, and we’ll go from there.”
With a goal on Tuesday night, Calle Jarnkrok now has eight points (5g-3a) in his last eight games versus Vancouver.
Miikka Salomaki and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Tuesday night.
The Predators will now return to Nashville for a three-game homestand which starts on Saturday night (at 7 p.m. CT) at Bridgestone Arena as the Chicago Blackhawks come to town.