St. Paul, MN – The struggles for the Nashville Predators continue with their third loss in a row tonight at the hands of the Minnesota Wild, 3-1.
Nashville just couldn’t stay out of the penalty box tonight with 14 minutes of penalty time, putting pressure on their penalty kill and losing scoring opportunities by being at a disadvantage.
The Predators found themselves in a similar situation as last night, going two goals down in the first period. Luke Kunin scored on his own rebound at 4:07 of the opening period with a wrist shot that gave Minnesota the early 1-0 lead.Then at 12:04, former Predator Kevin Fiala put the Wild ahead by a couple of goals, scoring against his old teammate Juuse Saros on a wrist shot and Minnesota took a 2-0 lead.
Nashville dug themselves in another hole just like last night’s loss to the Edmonton Oilers with the early deficit.
Unlike last night though, Nashville was not able to claw back into this game in the second period. The play of Minnesota goaltender Alex Stalock was superb, stopping 37 of 38 Nashville shots on goal.
Nashville has allowed 11 goals in the last two games.
There was no scoring in the second period, but that’s when the Nashville penalty woes began. Dante Fabbro, Craig Smith and Mikael Granlund spent time in the penalty box, along with a too many men on the ice penalty that kept the Predators at a disadvantage.
In the third period, Zack Parise put the Wild ahead by a couple of goals, scoring at 1:38 of the period, but Craig Smith was able to get the Predator son the scoreboard at 5:07 to cut the deficit to 3-1.
But the penalties kept Nashville in a hole at a critical juncture of the game.
Third period penalties by Ryan Ellis, Yannick Weber, and Mikael Granlund continued to put pressure on the Predators and killing any momentum they may have had in the final frame.
Since losing to Colorado on Saturday night on a very controversial call, the Predators look as though the wind has been knocked out of them. After finally working themselves into the playoff discussion, this team is struggling to score.
The Predators are home on Thursday night to face the Dallas Stars, then will head to Dallas on Saturday night.