Predators look for lost mojo against Red Wings
The Nashville Predators had a case of the blues over the weekend. They will try to lift their spirits against one of the NHL's worst teams.
The Predators lost back-to-back games to the St. Louis Blues, though they managed to salvage a point in a 5-4 overtime loss on Sunday. They fell in St. Louis 3-2 the previous day.
Nashville, which is fighting with Winnipeg for the Central Division lead, felt a little bit better about itself following the rematch. The Predators (33-20-5) host Detroit in the second game of a three-game homestand on Tuesday.
"You can't just paint it with a broad brush and say every game was good or every game was bad," coach Peter Laviolette said. "(Sunday), I thought that we did enough good things to win a hockey game. I hate the result, but on a back-to-back situation and chasing the game the whole night, we gave our guys credit for competing until the end."
Right wing Viktor Arvidsson doesn't have a peer in the scoring column since New Year's Day. He has scored a league-high 15 goals in 2019, including a pair on Sunday. His second of the game came in the third period, when the Predators rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime.
"We had a good first period, but a couple of mistakes cost us in the second," Arvidsson told the team's website. "We really got going in the third. We played our game in the third and really pushed forward."
Prior to the weekend, the Predators had won five of six. Arvidsson now has a team-high 24 goals but he's just fifth in the points. Ryan Johansen leads the way with 50 points, followed by defensemen Roman Josi (45) and Mattias Ekholm (40).
The Red Wings won the first meeting in Detroit 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 4. Dylan Larkin scored the game-winner.
The 22-year-old Larkin leads Detroit in goals (23) and points (52). The Wings (21-28-7) have dropped three straight and will try to salvage the finale of a three-game road trip. They lost at Buffalo 3-1 on Saturday and Chicago 5-2 on Sunday.
The Wings trailed by two goals after the first period against the Blackhawks and never recovered.
"Brutal start, not nearly good enough," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "As the game went along, halfway in, we started playing with more jam and competitiveness, like we have for the last month. But the start, to me mentally, we weren't ready to go. We gave up more odd-man rushes than we have in a long time.
"We can't be a team that spots the other team two goals on the road."
Gustav Nyquist, second on the team in points with 47, scored his 14th goal of the season. He's scored in three of the Wings' five February games but the defensive breakdowns were too much to overcome in Chicago.
"You can't start the game like that, like we did in the first," he told the Detroit News. "Bernie (goaltender Jonathan Bernier) kept us in that game from the start. I don't know why our heads weren't into it. We made mental mistakes and it cost us in the end."
--Field Level Media
Updated February 11, 2019