Predators look for more consistency in a season full of streaks

Monday, January 3, 2011 at 10:27pm

It’s not exactly accurate to say that one thing leads to another for the Nashville Predators. More often than not this season, one thing leads to more of the same.

“We’re a real streaky team right now,” captain Shea Weber said. “We have to change that. We have to try to be real consistent and play the same way as we did in the second and third period [Sunday] and we’ll be all right.”

The Predators have won two straight following Sunday’s 4-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Those victories came in the wake of their second stretch of five straight without a point. They also won five in a row last month during a run of eight straight in which they earned at least a point.

That kind of sustained ebb and flow is unusual given the history of the franchise. Typically the seasons have more of a Ping-Pong quality to them as results bounce back and forth between victory and defeat.

The first time Nashville had streaks of at least five straight triumphs and five straight without a point in the same season was 2008-09, when it had one six-game win streak and one five-game skid.

In 2009-10, the team won seven in a row in November and six in a row in March. In between was a five-game slide in January.

The current season hasn’t reached its halfway point and already the Predators have three stretches of notable length.

“I think it’s just consistency,” center Nick Spaling said. “We have to get back to playing the way we want to play to win. That’s like we did the second half of [Sunday’s] game — controlling the puck, getting pucks through to the net and traffic in front of goalies.”

The challenge now is to maintain their winning ways when they play three games in four nights on a swing through California.

They open that portion of the schedule Wednesday at Anaheim, where they lost 5-4 on Nov. 7, when they gave up a goal with just over two seconds to play in regulation.

“When we’re losing, we always give up those late goals, like in the end of the period — those momentum-changing goals,” Patric Hornqvist said. “When we win, we score those goals like [Sunday] we scored three goals in the second period and turned the momentum right away there.”