The Predators scored twice late in regulation, but it wasn’t quite enough to stage another comeback, as they fell 3-2 to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The result sees Nashville’s three-game winning streak come to an end, as the Avs won their sixth consecutive outing.
After Viktor Arvidsson scored to bring the Preds to within one goal with less than six minutes to play, Nashville again put the puck in the net just over two minutes later, but it was met with controversy.
Predators forward Colin Blackwell was called for goaltender interference on a play that saw Dante Fabbro’s goal negated. Additionally, because a penalty was called, the play was not reviewable.
However, despite the call, the Predators say they could have done more to find a way to change the outcome of Saturday’s effort.
“It’s one of those weird plays,” Preds forward Matt Duchene said of the goaltender interference call. “If [Blackwell] was backing in, and he might have touched him a little bit had [Avalanche Defenseman Nikita Zadorov] not kept backing up, but Zadorov didn’t know he was there. Just an unfortunate play. At the end of the day, we didn’t score any goals through two periods. So, it’s tough to win.”
“Anytime you don’t win the game you always want to see more,” Preds Head Coach John Hynes said. “We had a pretty strong effort… We just didn’t find enough ways to be able to get the puck in the back of the net, but I think it was a hard-fought game… We’ve got to take some of the lessons from this one, and then it’s onto [Monday’s game against] Edmonton.”
It took more than 33 minutes for the game’s first goal to arrive, but it came in favor of the visitors when Gabriel Landeskog roofed a shot over the shoulder of Juuse Saros in the second period. Roughly two minutes later, Martin Kaut made it 2-0 Colorado, and that score held into the third.
Arvidsson’s tally came on a breakaway, and then, a Fabbro slap shot beat Colorado goaltender Pavel Francouz, but the goal was immediately waved off, and a penalty was also assessed to Blackwell for goaltender interference.
“I only looked at it once, but I think goalie interference is tough because as a defenseman, you kind of push the guy into the goalie sometimes,” Preds Captain Roman Josi said. “[Blackwell] kind of got pushed into the goalie. He definitely didn’t mean to hit the goalie, so it’s a tough decision sometimes.”
After Nashville’s penalty kill came up big, Colorado then scored into an empty net seconds after Saros had been pulled for an extra attacker. Calle Jarnkrok got the second of the night for the Preds, but just 1.7 seconds remained on the clock – too little too late.
“We played well… it’s just finishing [our chances],” Preds forward Matt Duchene said. “Our offense a lot of times has let us down this year, and I think it was kind of the same tonight. We just weren’t able to capitalize on our chances and they got enough on their side of things.”
Despite the frustration, the Predators have no choice but to prepare for the finale of their season-long five-game homestand: a date with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night.
“I felt when I scored that we were coming there,” Arvidsson said. “It’s a questionable call. Too bad it didn’t go our way. We just have to rebuild and get ready for Edmonton.”
Yannick Weber, Korbinian Holzer and Austin Watson were scratched for the Predators on Saturday night.
Nashville’s five-game homestand concludes on Monday night (at 7 p.m. CT) when the Edmonton Oilers make their only visit of the season to Bridgestone Arena. That contest begins a back-to-back set for the Preds that will take them to Minnesota on Tuesday night (at 7 p.m. CT).