The Nashville Predators find themselves in unfamiliar territory having lost back-to-back games at home for the first time this season.
They blew a three-goal lead on Saturday to the New Jersey Devils, losing 5-4 in overtime. They followed that up on Sunday with a 4-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, having to play catch-up for most of the game.
Now the Predators are left searching for some answers after losing two consecutive winnable games.
“I don’t think we started well tonight,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “I thought tonight we were getting off the marker a little bit slow in the first period and obviously we built up steam in the second and had our best period in the third.
“Just chasing the game the whole time, coming from behind, coming from behind, and trying to catch it at the end is just not a good way to play the game. We had lots of looks in the third period and lots of attempts at the net and lots of chances to score.”
The Predators started their current home stand with an 8-1-1 home record - fourth best in the league. They have outscored their opponents 41-22 at home and until Saturday’s loss to New Jersey had not given up a power play goal in Bridgestone Arena.
“You’re not going to kill all of the penalties,” defenseman Roman Josi said. “You’re obviously going to get scored on on the PK but you try to limit those. I mean every time you get scored on I think there’s definitely some things you can do better positioning-wise.
“Tonight I thought our effort could have been better in the first period. After that we got it going a little bit but our special teams have to be better – the PK and power play.”
The Predators closed out November as one of the hottest teams in the league. They had surrendered only 2.07 goals-per-game and earned points in 11 of 14 games.
So far through two December games, they are allowing 4.5 goals-per-game and have earned just a single point. So what has changed for this team during the last two games?
“Just the effort, from everyone for 60 minutes,” forward Filip Forsberg said. “There’s no team in this league that isn’t going to show up to play. Everyone needs the points wherever you are in the standings. Obviously the inspiration level has to be higher, even if its from the start or in the last period, we’ve got to play a full 60 minutes.
“I think before these two games we’ve been collecting a lot of points and playing some good hockey. We lost in Winnipeg but I think that was a really good effort. I think that’s the biggest thing - just work hard for 60 minutes and the results will come with that.”
Nashville will have one more home game before heading out on a two-game road trip. Fortunately for the Predators, their next opponent is the Colorado Avalanche; a team they have already beaten twice by a combined score of 10-4.