A shootout was needed to decide Nashville’s final game of the 2021 calendar year, but the Predators ultimately fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-3 final Thursday night at Nationwide Arena.
The result sees the Preds earn just one point from a possible four in their back-to-back set at Washington and Columbus, and while the visitors couldn’t find their desired result on either night, they were certainly not unhappy. with their global efforts.
“I think we played a really good game,” Preds head coach John Hynes said. “The biggest lesson from this is that I was just thinking about the third [period], we didn’t play as aggressive as necessary with the header, and they ended up equalizing on an error. But if you look at the game and the style of play and the opportunities, the shot attempts, the chances, the zone time, the possession time, we did a lot of really good things. I salute the effort and the intensity of our guys on a straight streak… I really liked our team, I loved our competitiveness, I liked the way we played, so we’ll take it from there.
The Predators didn’t wait long to take a 1-0 lead on Thursday – just 2:50 into the game, to be exact – as Michael McCarron found string. Winger Matt Luffwho was recalled from the taxi squad before the face-off, found McCarron in the slot, and the 6-foot-6 centerman got the better of Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins for his first count in as a member of the Preds.
Video: [email protected]: McCarron buries wrist shot past Merzlikins
Columbus tied the game before the end of the opening period as Boone Jenner deflected a shot past the Preds goaltender david rittichand Patrik Laine gave the Jackets their first lead of the night at the start of the second stanza.
But later as part of the middle, the Preds winger Tanner Jeannot scored a decisive victory in a fight with Columbus defender Andrew Peeke, and it seemed to excite the visitors. With less than five minutes left in the period, Matt Duchene stick in the high slot and found Nick Cousins down the left wing, and the No.21 chose a corner from an almost impossible angle to level the score. Then, less than 40 seconds later, Duchene took on another assistant as Ryan Johansen converted on the power play to give Nashville the lead for 40 minutes.
Video: [email protected]: Cousins scores from a tough angle
In the third period, Alexandre Texier took advantage of a turnover to force extra time, and after the Preds killed a penalty in the extra session, Columbus finally got the extra point in a five-round shootout that saw Rittich stopped. three of the Blue Jackets’ five shooters.
“I think our competitiveness and our passion, we did a really good job there,” Preds said. Mikael Granlund noted. “There are certain details that we have to be better at, not to let the other team get [easy chances], it’s something we need to improve, but the game is there. The boys go really strong, play hard for each other, and that’s the sign of a good team. So we just have to keep doing that and improve in some details and try to get those wins again. Obviously one in four [points] just isn’t good enough for us, but now we have the next Saturday.”
Video: [email protected]: Johansen cleans down rebound for PPG
This New Year’s Day contest is at home against the Chicago Blackhawks, and as the schedule swings to 2022, the Predators will be eager to capitalize on their last two outings as they look to get back into the scoring column. victories.
“When you talk about identity and look at tonight’s game, by all statistical measures, we definitely deserve to win,” Hynes said. “Now we haven’t found a way to do it, and like I said I think you look at the competitiveness, the guys fighting in overtime to kill the penalty, a back to back after the long break against a rested team… When we look [our] team, the last two matches, [the identity is] clearly there. I really appreciate the way the guys work. We got one point, we should have gotten two tonight, so we have to keep going. We have a huge game against Chicago on Saturday, and we will keep moving forward… The most important thing you need to remember about this – you may not win every game, but you don’t want to lose your identity, and our identity is there.”
Prior to Thursday’s game, the Preds recalled forward Matt Luff from the taxi squad and reassigned forward Mathieu Olivier to the taxi squad.
Captain Roman Josi, along with forwards Colton Sissons and Tommy Novak, all spent their second consecutive game on the COVID protocol list.
The Predators played their last game in 2021, and they’ll turn the schedule around in 2022 by hosting the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on New Year’s Day with a puck drop at 1 p.m. CT.
Video: NSH Recap: Cousins, McCarron scores in shootout loss