So the Nashville Predators won with one?
They’ll focus on the ‘won’ rather than the ‘one,’ thank you.
“Don’t victimize us for being good and stingy,” coach Barry Trotz said. “Let’s embrace this. This group is becoming very good at that. That’s something I think we should praise. I’m not embarrassed by that. We’re winning hockey games.
“… We are comfortable. We’ve played how many games of overtime now? And shootouts? That’s just the way it is.”
For the record it is seven overtime games, five of which went to a shootout following Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over the San Jose Sharks before an announced sellout at Bridgestone Arena.
Colin Wilson’s goal 2:08 into the extra period ended this one earlier than any of the previous six that went past regulation but couldn’t keep this bunch out of the record books. It ended the longest scoreless streak in franchise history – a stretch that covered 176 minutes and 18 seconds and included eight full regulation periods.
The previous mark was 166:40 set in early December 2000, the franchise’s third season, when it finished 28th in goals scored among the NHL’s 30 teams.
Even in that era of clutching and grabbing and with a roster still in the expansion stage the team averaged better than two goals per contest. With its latest performance the current group remained last in the league as its average dipped to 1.77 goals per game.
“To win the game is definitely the most important thing,” defenseman Kevin Klein said. “… It’s one of those things where right now we’re playing really solid five-on-five in our own end. We’re keeping the shots for the most part to the outside. We’re doing a great job killing off some of the penalties too that we’re taking.
“Offensive chances will come. Obviously, right now we have to do some things to open that up.”
Wilson redirected a shot from defenseman Ryan Ellis enough that it squeezed between the legs of Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. For good measure, Wilson managed to knock the puck across the goal line as he skated by the net.
“I saw Ellis had it so I drove the middle, and he took a shot and I got a tip on it,” Wilson said. “… It was just getting that puck and a body to the net.”
It was Wilson’s fourth goal of the season, which in Nashville’s case now consists of 13 contests. On most teams, four goals is a pedestrian number. On Nashville it makes him the outright team leader, as does his eight points.
It also was the fourth time in their last seven games the Predators scored a single goal. Almost unthinkably, they won three of those four and earned one point in the other – an overtime defeat at Minnesota last Saturday.
Goalie Pekka Rinne improved to 5-3-3 on the season with his second shutout and held the opposition to one goal or fewer for the fifth time in his last six outings.
That stretch includes a 2-1 shootout victory at San Jose 10 days earlier, the first of four in their last six in which the Sharks managed only one or no goals. They earned a point in three of those four but did not win any of them.
“With the numbers we are pitching and the ways our goalies are playing, we can win with those numbers,” San Jose forward Joe Pavelski said.
In their case, it’s a belief. For the Predators, it’s not merely a fact it’s a way of life right now.
“Do we want to score more goals?” Trotz said. “Absolutely. And we’ll find ways. … But if we have to win 1-0 that’s OK. The other team is not scoring. Let’s not victimize the fact that we can shut teams out. That’s a strength of our team.”
• Briefly: Martin Erat tied his career-high with eight penalty minutes in a single game. He got them all within a span of 9:17 of the second period with a double-minor for high-sticking, a minor for hooking and a minor for holding the stick. … Defenseman Hal Gill was scratched in favor of Jonathon Blum. Gill had played in each of the first 12 games but his ice time dipped in recent games to a season-low 8:06 Sunday against Chicago.