A uniform change was accompanied by a change of fortunes for the Nashville Predators on Friday. That was not a good thing.
The franchise paid homage to the idea of ‘Black Friday’ when players wore the new alternate, third jersey in competition for the first time. Thus, the on-ice premier of the latest piece of Predators’ apparel conveniently came at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Wrapped in mostly blue with no hint of the yellow that dominated the old third jersey, the players cashed in on just one of their 38 shots, however, and they lost 3-1 before home crowd 13,170.
The defeat ended Nashville’s win streak at seven, one short of the franchise record. Gone too was the personal win streak of goalie Pekka Rinne, whose seven straight victories tied a team record, and the season-high run of six games with at least one power play goal.
“I didn’t think we were as sharp (Friday),” coach Barry Trotz said. “… The Blues were good when they needed to (be), and they capitalized on their chances.
“… We went from a real good stretch where we played really well. We rattled off seven in a row and now we’re on a one-game losing streak. … We have to win the next game. You don’t want to go backward at all.”
The next game is 7 p.m. Saturday at home against the Florida Panthers. Nashville plans to wear the new jersey in that one as well, and – no doubt – hopes to do better than it did in the debut.
Former Predator Chris Mason, the Blues’ goalie, came within 6:35 of his first shuout of the season, and he did so almost one year to the day of a similar performance in the same building. It was Nov. 25, 2008 that Mason made 47 saves in a 1-0 victory over the Predators in a game that extended all the way to a shootout.
Dave Scatchard got Nashville’s only goal with 6:35 to play in the contest and then immediately dropped his gloves and fought with Carlo Colaiacavo, who took exception to Scatchard’s hard drive down the slot.
St. Louis finished with the same number of shots as the Predators.
Yet a little more than seven minutes before Scatchard scored, the Blues had taken a two-goal lead when David Backes drove home a rebound. They went ahead by two again just 58 seconds after Scatchard scored on a goal by Paul Kariya – another former Predator.
“You saw the shot totals and how close the game was,” St. Louis coach Andy Murray said. “We’ve got a lot of respect for their team and how hard they play and compete. The only way you can have success against them is to match that.”
The 38 shots against were the third-highest allowed by Nashville this season, and the most since Buffalo had 42 back on Oct. 10.
“We have to be good (Saturday),” Trotz said. “We didn’t have quite the jump we needed. We didn’t do the things we wanted to enough. We did it in spurts. We just have to do it in a little more consistent basis.”
And they need to do it in the new uniforms.
• Scatchard was recalled on Thursday along with Alexander Sulzer, and forward Andreas Thuresson was reassigned to Milwaukee.
Scatchard had no goals and two assists in nine games before being sent back to Milwaukee on Nov. 12. Sulzer was scratched against the Blues, just as he had been in the previous six games before he was sent down earlier this week.
• Jordin Tootoo has an assist in each of the last three games. That is the longest such streak of his career and matches his longest point streak, which he set March 14-18, 2006.