For the Nashville Predators, playing a good game is not good enough anymore.
Thursday night at the Sommet Center the Predators gave up a pair of third-period goals as the Colorado Avalanche won 2-1. It was the third loss in the four-game homestand for the Predators. They have today to regroup before heading to Denver to face the Avalanche Saturday night at 8 p.m. at the Pepsi Center.
“This is not characteristic of us at home,” said Predators goaltender Chris Mason, who stopped 30 shots. “Usually we are really tough to play against here. It seems we have been traveling a lot this year so when we are at home we have to take advantage of it.
“We need these points. You look at the standings everyday and two points separates you from a playoff spot. These are games we have to win. We have to go to Colorado and take back the two points they took from us.”
The two teams played to a 0-0 tie after two periods. The Avalanche offense finally kicked in with goals by left wing Ryan Smyth and right wing Ian Laperriere. The Predators broke the shutout with a goal by right wing Alexander Radulov with 21 seconds left.
“We are just not scoring around the net,” Mason said. “We are obviously working hard. The puck is not going in.”
Veteran right winger J.P. Dumont stresses the Predators have to pick up their level of play, even though they haven’t been playing that poorly.
“We can’t be satisfied with just playing well,” Dumont said. “We can’t take anything away from anybody on our team. Everybody played really hard and really was trying, but it wasn’t good enough.
“We didn’t expect to end up with this score based on the way we played. We have to find that little extra that everybody can bring that will make us win some games.”
The Predators usually play best when scoring first and they appeared to have done that at the 12:24 mark of the second period. Center Radek Bonk had a backhand shot from close range bounce off of Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj. Bonk shoveled the rebound past Budaj for what seemed liked a goal. However, it was ruled that the play had been blown dead before Bonk’s second shot.
After a review of the play it was decided the call would stand. Trotz admitted after the game he was little confused by how the decision was made.
“I’m going to have get clarification,” Trotz said. “I was told they were in the process of blowing the whistle. I was told there was a push of the goalie. There are a number of different scenarios.
“If you really look at the play, the puck was in there very quickly. Radek really had nothing to do with the goal other than putting it on net. I need to get clarification from Toronto again. I’m still not understanding the rule. If they were reviewing it, then it had nothing to do with the whistle.”
The Predators play their next three games on the road. After Colorado they head to Minnesota to face the Wild and close the short trip with a stop in Chicago to play the Blackhawks. With the team not able to protect its home ice during this last homestand, the three road games are even more important as the Predators try to get back on track.
Left winger Martin Erat missed the Colorado game with a neck injury. His status for Saturday’s game is not known. Center Scott Nichol has served his five-game suspension and will make his return to the ice against the Avalanche.
“Having Scottie back will give us some energy,” Trotz said. “It is going to help us. He will give some speed as well as another veteran player up front.
“We are going to have to make some decisions on defense. Some guys are not playing as well as they should.”