On the one hand, the Predators were dominated consistently, outshot in every period by the up-tempo, physical Bruins leading to a total of 22 Shots For, with 41 Shots Against. Even once they took an improbable third-period lead, another late penalty led to the tying goal by Milan Lucic, scored with just 1:07 left in regulation.
On the other hand, Pekka Rinne kept them in the game despite that lopsided shot total, and gritty efforts by Sergei Kostitsyn, Patric Hornqvist, and Mike Fisher led to those second and third goals, which at least earned the Preds a much-needed point in the standings, if they plan to keep in the hunt for 4th-place in the Western Conference, or the Central Division title.
When you check out the post-game commentary from head coach Barry Trotz and defenseman Ryan Suter, however, the emphasis was clearly on the critical side. The team's 2-2-1 record since the All-Star break clearly isn't what they'd like to see...
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Overall, not a good game for us. I mean, we didn't manage the puck very well. We knew they were going to come out hard. We sort of semi-stabilized it, and halfway through the first period we give up a shorthanded goal. I thought the next ten minutes, we were no good at all. I think we just stood and watched, and they were just crashing the net, hanging out. They had a lot of possession time. I don't think they had a lot of shots, but they had a lot of possession time, and that leads to rebounds. And then after that I thought, we got a power play goal, we were much better in the last thirty minutes than the first thirty minutes. So for us, it's two games, the first thirty we're not very good, and the second thirty I thought we were okay, and then we had two points in our grasp. And we let a point slip away. You can't have that. You don't know what the margin of, during the year, the margin of a point here or there can make it. The way we played the first thirty minutes, we were really no good and had no business being in the game.
We came out slow in the second period, we were playing like a minor hockey team. The second half of the second period we started to play a little bit better, and we were fortunate, very fortunate to get one point today.
Later, when Suter was asked what the specific problem was:
Everything, I mean we didn't do one thing good in the second and the end of the first, early in the second.
And when asked what the Preds need to do better:
Well, we have to get back to work, I mean we don't have the skill in here that's going to go out and tic-tac-toe,players run and gun with this team. Everyone has to work hard every night and contribute. We have to establish a forecheck. We can't turn pucks over, we just got to get back to the basics.
There he is, offering assessments of the roster again... :)
The week ahead brings a pair of important matchups with Chicago (at home) and Detroit (at Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings have won 19 straight games). Can the coaching staff and team leadership get things turned around quickly? The Preds have managed to keep earning points in the standings while playing less than their best hockey of the season recently, so there is a silver lining in the cloud hanging overhead right now.
Can Trotz & Suter's stern words bring about sunnier days?
Thanks to the Boston Bruins' PR staff for passing along the post-game transcripts.