With a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Boston Bruins on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators suffered their fourth straight loss.
For the fourth time in as many games, the Predators failed to score the first goal. For the second time in as many games, Nashville’s opponent put up three goals in the first period alone.
“We need to get a lead and hold it,” Predators forward Craig Smith said. “We need to come out with a little better first period. We have to get the first one. We have to start out and get the first one, hold it and keep the pressure on and go from there.”
The Predators’ record when allowing the first goal is 3-16-2. When trailing after one period, the team is 1-12-1. When leading after one period, however, the team is 12-0-1.
Smith had Nashville’s only two goals in the loss. He also had the only two goals in last week’s 4-2 loss to the Lightning. Despite the losing streak, Smith has four goals and an assist in the stretch. However, he would gladly trade those points for a win.
“We need to get rest,” Smith said. “Take a couple of days to recharge and come back and start getting points. That’s all we need to do right now. We need to worry about coming out of the gate and winning games.”
As the team nears the halfway point of the season, the Predators have only won three of their last 12 games. In those 12 games, Nashville has allowed the first goal on ten occasions. The team’s December 12 win against the Dallas Stars was the only game in that stretch that the team gave up the first goal and did not lose.
The current losing streak is the third this season of four or more games for the Predators.
As the losses continue to pile up, Predators head coach Barry Trotz acknowledged that it gets hard not to dwell on them.
“Every mistake does get in the back of your head,” Trotz said. “That’s the psyche thing about it that plays on your mind a little bit. Are we strong enough to get through that? Yeah, absolutely. I believe that room is strong enough to get through it. But reality is we have to play almost a perfect game.”
The team now enters a brief, league-mandated break for Christmas, which will give the players a brief time to catch their breath and prepare for the remainder of the season. Coming out of the break, the Predators head to Dallas on Friday to take on the Stars and try to right the ship.
“What else are you going to do?” Smith said “We have to move on here. We have to forget it and move on. No one’s happy. We’re going to funnel that energy into hopefully a nice streak at the end of this break. We have to get refreshed and get going again.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua
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