Roman Josi scored twice, but the Predators gave up seven as they fell to the Chicago Blackhawks by a 7-2 final on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result pushes Nashville’s winless streak to four games and gives them a 1-1-0 record against Chicago this season.
The Preds outshot the Hawks by a 41-24 margin on the evening, but Chicago capitalized on what seemed to be every prime opportunity they had, and Nashville couldn’t get much of anything to drop at the other end, a mix that led to a disappointing loss after returning home from a long trip.
“It was a bad game,” Josi said. “We just lost 7-2 at home on Saturday night, and it’s really frustrating.”
“Ugly,” Preds forward Colton Sissons said of the game. “Just embarrassing in front of our home crowd.”
The Predators outshot Chicago by a 26-17 count through the game’s first 40 minutes, but only the Blackhawks found the back of the net. Erik Gustafsson and Dominik Kubalik tallied for Chicago in the first period, before Brent Seabrook and David Kampf beat Pekka Rinne in the second stanza.
“Defense is always a five-man job out there, like offense,” Josi said. “We’ve got to make sure we all defend together, we come back together and we battle it out together. We didn’t do any of that tonight.”
The fourth Chicago goal spelled the end of Rinne’s night as he exited in favor of Juuse Saros, and while Josi tallied twice in the third, the Hawks got three more in the final frame to spoil Saturday night and leave the Preds searching for answers.
“I have to go back and watch the game, because it is confusing, to be honest with you,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “I don’t think we gave up a whole bunch, and yet we found ourselves chasing the game the whole night. I have to go back and look and see what we can do better defensively… I don’t feel like it was wide-open hockey, I felt like we were pressing for most of the night and couldn’t buy a goal at the other end.”
Now owners of a 1-6-1 record in their past eight outings, the Predators are not at all pleased with the way they’ve played as of late. Saturday’s result only emphasizes that fact, and they’d certainly prefer to reverse course on Tuesday when the Winnipeg Jets come to town.
“We have to do a little bit of soul searching,” Sissons said. “It’s not been going well for a little while here and it’s been a struggle but teams go through this, as we know. We have the personnel here to turn this around in a hurry, and we have a huge game against Winnipeg on Tuesday, so we can’t dwell on this one for too long.”
With two goals on the night, Roman Josi now has 100 goals in his NHL career.
Defenseman Matt Irwin returned to the Predators lineup on Saturday night in place of Yannick Weber. Miikka Salomaki was also scratched for the Preds.
Nashville’s three-game homestand continues on Tuesday when the Winnipeg Jets come to town before the Vancouver Canucks visit on Thursday.