Viktor Arvidsson and Mikael Granlund tallied for the Predators, but it wasn’t enough, as Nashville fell to the Anaheim Ducks by a 4-2 final on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result sees the Preds finish with a 1-1-1 record in the season series against the Ducks, and it’s Nashville’s second-straight loss by the same score.
After returning from a three-game trip, the Predators were left disappointed by another loss at home in a contest that saw too many lulls.
“It feels like when we go down 1-0 or 2-0, we’re just kind of dead on the bench,” Preds forward Rocco Grimaldi said. “That’s something we’ve got to take out of our game. We’re going to get down in games, it’s going to happen. We’re going to get down by a couple goals, but we can’t just kind of sit and be like, ‘oh, here we go again.’ I feel like sometimes that’s how the mindset on the bench is when it gets quiet and we start getting down 1-0 or 2-0. If we can just clean that up and say, ‘whatever, it’s 2-0, there’s still 45 minutes left,’ I think we’ll be better off.”
“One of the biggest things in sports is you have to have mental toughness,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “You have to have some fortitude to be able to push through things, mental focus, and I think that when you really look at today’s game, some of the goals we gave up… These are all little detail things that need to be addressed. I’ve got to do a better job of making sure that our attention to detail and execution of key points in the game are there. And then the second part comes back to, you earn your confidence. No one’s going to give a group confidence. In the end you go out by playing the game the right way, sticking together as a group, having pushback in your game, and that’s an area that needs to get better.”
Anaheim took a 2-0 lead in the opening period, thanks to goals from Josh Manson and Adam Henrique, but before the first frame was out, Arvidsson tipped home a Roman Josi shot for his 11th of the season to get the Preds on the board.
Rickard Rakell scored the only goal of the second stanza, and Derek Grant tallied shorthanded in the third to go up by three. Granlund got Nashville’s second, when he added a shorthanded goal of his own late in the game, but that was as close as the Preds came to tying the score.
“We played well for good stretches of the game, especially in the second period,” Grimaldi said. “We had a lot of good, grade-A chances, but [Ducks goaltender John Gibson] made a lot of good saves. At the end of the day we’ve got to have more of a 60-minute, full effort. I thought there were times that we were lacking, and I think that probably cost us.”
“We have the best crowd in the League, and for some reason we can’t find a way to win games at home,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “Every time we step on the ice we should be flying right away, getting the crowd into it and dominating other teams. It’s not happening right now, and it’s definitely something to talk about.”
The Predators have one more game prior to the bye week and NHL All-Star Weekend, and they would certainly prefer to enter that period of rest and relaxation with a victory. As Hynes said, the team has to help themselves if they’re to do so.
“When the game is in the balance and they’re tight games, you can’t beat yourself,” Hynes said. “And it’s two things: We’ve got to stop beating ourselves, and we’ve got to make sure that we’re going to come out and we’re not going to throw the word confidence or those things around. You’ve got to earn it. We’ve got to earn it by how we work, how we prepare and how we play. That’s what we have to do moving forward.”
Defenseman Jarred Tinordi assisted on Mikael Granlund’s goal for his first point as a member of the Preds.
The Predators have one more game before the bye week and All-Star Break, a matchup with the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night in Nashville. It will be a Winter Classic White Out at Bridgestone Arena, and the Preds will sport their Winter Classic jerseys for the evening. All fans will receive a T-shirt and Predators Season-Ticket Citizens, with their STC ID, will be offered free small sodas.