There weren’t many similarities between the Nashville Predators’ performance Monday and their previous one … except the result.
The Predators (2-2) lost for the second time in three days, but unlike Saturday when the play of their goalie kept them in a low-scoring affair, Pekka Rinne was out of this one after one period. He allowed four goals on nine shots in the first period and gave way to Dan Ellis, who did not fare significantly better.
The result was a 6-1 defeat against the Edmonton Oilers (3-1-1) before 12,179 – many of whom headed for the exits early – at Sommet Center.
“I look at the game against Buffalo (on Saturday) and we probably gave up three times as many chances as we did (Tuesday) night, but in the first period every time they got a chance it ended up in our net,” coach Barry Trotz said. “… The game was out of hand early, and those games are tough to play.”
For the first time all season, Nashville actually outshot an opponent in each period, but only one of its season-high 41 attempts got past Oilers’ goalie Jeff Deslauriers. That was when Jason Arnott redirected a pass from Patric Hornqvist in the final minute of the second period for his team-leading third of the season.
The attack started early too as the Predators built a 5-0 edge in shots over the first 3:09.
Edmonton, though, was efficient with its attempts. It scored on its third, sixth and eighth shots – all within a span of 6:47. It was nearly six full minutes before it registered another but that one too – with 29 seconds to play in the opening period – found the mark and effectively ended Rinne’s night.
“We just gave up about five really good scoring chances and they scored on four of them,” defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who was on the ice for four of Edmonton’s first five goals, said. “Five chances in a period isn’t that much, but this was one of those nights when nearly all of the chances went in.”
Ellis faced 11 shots over the final 40 minutes, only four of which came in the third period. Like Rinne, the third shot he saw turned into a goal.
The last time Rinne failed to finish a game he started was Nov. 6, 2008, the fourth of 52 appearances last season.
“I can’t really say too much about how we played when I’m not doing the job,” Rinne said. “… It’s embarrassing. I need to be better and we need to be better.”
• Trotz and his assistants, Brent Peterson and Peter Horachek, conducted an impromptu meeting with the players as soon as they came off the ice.
The thrust of his message was that he wanted the players to respond better to adversity.
“You’re going to make mistakes during a game,” Hamhuis said. “… (Monday) night they were really exploited. We’re going to have to tighten up our game if we want to win.”
• Center Colin Wilson made his professional and NHL debuts after he finally overcame a groin injury, which limited him to one preseason appearance. He had two shots, two takeaways, two blocked shots and one hit in 16:41 of ice time, which included nearly a minute on the power play. He also won half of his 10 faceoffs.
“Wilson was really good,” Trotz said. “I liked him a lot. … He created chances, he went to the hard areas, he forced himself to the net and good things happen when you do that.
“He was pretty good for someone who hasn’t played, and I was very comfortable with him on the ice.”
Ben Guite was scratched to make room for Wilson.
• Triston Grant earned the first major penalty by a Nashville player this season when he fought with Zach Stortini 98 seconds after the opening faceoff. The linesmen allowed the fight to extend for what seemed like minutes, during which both combatants got in some shots.
“I just know I was glad I wasn’t part of that fight,” Trotz said. “That was a long one.”
• This was the third time the Predators won their first two games. The last time it happened (2007-08) they lost their next six.