One night after the Predators shut out the Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville was the club unable to beat their counterpart.
It was the Florida Panthers, who blanked the Preds on Saturday night at BB&T Center, putting an end to Nashville’s four-game point streak. Panthers goaltender Chris Dreidger recorded the shutout in his first-career start, as the Preds failed to score a goal for the first time this season.
“We lacked a little bit of effort,” Preds Associate Captain Ryan Ellis said. “We’re in a back-to-back, which is always tough, it makes you use the energy that you do have more effectively, and I don’t think we did that tonight. We’ve been playing much better of late, and tonight, maybe we took a little bit of a step back.”
“We played eight games in a row with pop, and tonight, for me, we were flat,” Preds Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. “We started out just OK, and it slid from there in the third period, so it’s not enough. You have to play at a higher tempo and a higher level in order to be successful, and if you don’t, you roll the dice and it didn’t go our way.”
The game’s only goal through the first 40 minutes came courtesy of Panthers defenseman Anton Stralman, who beat Juuse Saros on a rebound early in the second period.
In the third, with the Predators desperate to knot the contest, Stralman notched his second goal of the night and of the season. Aleksander Barkov salted the game away a few minutes later with an in-tight shot around Saros and into the top corner of the net.
“We were just OK tonight,” Preds center Ryan Johansen said. “It’s tough, back-to-backs are tough traveling, but the bottom line was we needed to do more to be successful. We didn’t create enough opportunities, and when we did have ours, their goalie played well.”
Their four-game point streak at an end, the Preds will return to Music City for a three-game homestand with a need for an improved effort on Tuesday night.
“It’s a statement for us that we’ve been playing good hockey, but we’re not there yet, and this is a good example of it,” Ellis said. “We can’t take a night off, we can’t take a step back, and it’s a good wake-up call that we have to bring our A-game every night to be successful in this League.”
Kyle Turris and Matt Irwin were scratched for the Preds on Saturday night.
With their first back-to-back set of the season now complete, the Predators will return to Nashville to begin another three-game homestand starting on Tuesday night (at 7 p.m. CT) against the Tampa Bay Lightning.