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Nashville Predators fall to the Dallas Stars 5-3, face elimination

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators have been backed into a corner by the Dallas Stars, losing at home, 5-3 and now facing elimination in their first round playoff series.

Dallas was all over the Predators right from the puck drop in today’s matinee game.  The Stars now lead the best of seven series, 3-2, and can capture the series on Monday night in Dallas.

Nashville got on the board first, which is usually a good omen, when Rocco Grimaldi scored at 6:25 of the opening frame.  Grimaldi captured a bouncing puck while driving to the net and netted the goal past Ben Bishop to take the early lead, 1-0.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) is unable to stop a slap shot from Dallas Stars center Jason Dickinson (16) during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.  (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) is unable to stop a slap shot from Dallas Stars center Jason Dickinson (16) during the third period in game five of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.  (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins, 2-1 in a Bridgestone Arena shoot-out, with Sidney Crosby proving to be the difference.

The Predators were pedaling uphill all night long chasing the game after a whirlwind start where they attacked the Pens in the opening frame of the contest.  Once again, the story of their season so far, they have no power play.

The two teams traded punches during the first period with plenty of opportunities for both teams, but both Pekka Rinne and Matt Murray stood tall in net for their respective teams to keep the game scoreless.

Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) attempts a jump screen on a shot from the point against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) attempts a jump screen on a shot from the point against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators take division lead with win over the L.A. Kings 2-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators played like gangbusters for the first two periods of hockey tonight, then had to hold on for the win against the L.A Kings, 2-1.  With the win, the Predators take over first place in the Central Division of the Western Conference. 

The Kings suffer their sixth loss in a row and are reeling towards the end of their season, as Nashville was expected to have little trouble with L.A tonight.

Kyle Turris got things started for Nashville at 8:50 of the opening period taking a cross ice pass from Filip Forsberg and blasting the one-timer past Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for the early 1-0 lead.

 Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) has a wrap around attempt blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Kings left wing Kyle Clifford (13) has a wrap around attempt blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators drop second in a row to the St. Louis Blues 5-4

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators dropped the second game of a back-to-back series to the St. Louis Blues today, 5-4.  The only good thing about the game was their ability to come back to earn a point.

Nashville was fighting their way out of a wet paper bag the entire contest, and never led the game.  Viktor Arvidsson was the bright spot scoring twice in the loss.

Costly turnovers and sloppy puck management has been the order of the day for the Predators and with a week power play, it doesn’t bode well for a deep run into the Stanley Cup playoffs.

 Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris (8) battles for a loose puck behind St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators center Kyle Turris (8) battles for a loose puck behind St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen (34) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to the Florida Panthers 4-2

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators dropped their second game in a row at home to the Florida Panthers tonight, 4-2.

The Predators had fought back from a three goal deficit to draw to within a goal, but Jared McCann closed the door with his tip-in at 11:38 of the final frame.

Aaron Ekblad started the scoring at 4:05 of the first period, burying the one timer on the power play to beat Juuse Saros in goal for the 1-0 lead.  Ekblad has now scored the most goals by a defenseman in Panthers history.

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) skates the puck into the offensive zone during the first period against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban (76) skates the puck into the offensive zone during the first period against the Florida Panthers at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators continue their free fall losing to the Boston Bruins 5-2

 

Nashville PredatorsBoston, MA – The Nashville Predators continue their downward spiral, losing to the Boston Bruins today, 5-2.  Patrice Bergeron led the way for the home team, with three points on the day.

Nashville concludes a brutal road trip, losing all four games before the Christmas break.  The Predators are still without key players on their roster due to injury.  Filip Forsberg, P.K Subban and Viktor Arvidsson are still sitting in the locker room.

Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had big days on the ice with each scoring a goal and two assists.  Bergeron scored his 300th goal of his NHL career after being on the injury list and added a couple of assists.

Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) and center Ryan Donato (17) fight for a loose puck at the post against Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Boston Bruins right wing David Backes (42) and center Ryan Donato (17) fight for a loose puck at the post against Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the second period at TD Garden. (Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators defeat the Vancouver Canucks in overtime thriller 4-3

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators almost let this one get away, but in the end, Colton Sissons was able to score the game winner in overtime for the 4-3 Nashville win over the Vancouver Canucks. 

It was a bit of sweet revenge for the Predators after the beatdown they suffered in Vancouver last week. 

Nashville is still working their way through the injury bug with Viktor Arvidsson and P.K Subban still unavailable.  The Predators did get Kyle Turris back in the lineup tonight for the win, and that meant Eeli Tolvanen was sent down to Milwaukee this morning.

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) looks through traffic for a shot during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) looks through traffic for a shot during the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators snap losing streak to defeat Ottawa Senators 3-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators recovered from a disastrous Canadian road trip to defeat the Ottawa Senators at the Bridgestone Arena, 3-1.

The win in front of a noisy “Smashville” home crowd, was a much needed shot in the arm following two losses last week to Vancouver and Calgary.  The injury plagued Predators have been finding ways to win without P.K Subban, Viktor Arvidsson and Kyle Turris, all on the injury list.

Ottawa scored first, just twenty six seconds into the contest on a mishandled shot by Pekka Rinne.  Zack Smith’s backhand skipped over the outstretched glove of Rinne for the early 1-0 Ottawa lead.

 Ottawa Senators left wing Magnus Paajarvi (56) has a shot blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Ottawa Senators left wing Magnus Paajarvi (56) has a shot blocked by Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne (35) during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators fall to Calgary Flames 5-2

 

Nashville PredatorsCalgary Alberta, Canada – The Nashville Predators fell to the Calgary Flames tonight, losing both games on this road trip, 5-2.  After fighting back from deficits throughout the night, the Flames finally put the game away for the win.

Nashville started the game with Juuse Saros in net, replacing Pekka Rinne who had the night off.  Saros got off to a shaky start giving up the first goal of the game just 1:12 into the contest.  Oliver Kylington put Calgary on the board with a snap shot that beat Saros for the early 1-0 lead.

 Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

Nashville Predators goaltender Juuse Saros (74) makes a save against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. (Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports)

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Nashville Predators defeat Buffalo Sabres 2-1

 

Nashville PredatorsNashville, TN – The Nashville Predators defeated the Buffalo Sabres, the hottest team in the NHL, at the Bridgestone Arena tonight, 2-1.   Buffalo had won ten straight games before dropping their last two before coming into Nashville.  The Sabres are coached by former Nashville assistant coach, Phil Housley.

The Predators are still without some of their front line players with Kyle Turris, Viktor Arvidsson and P.K Subban out of the lineup.  Other players have seen their ice time extended and have stepped up to fill the void during their absence. 

Buffalo Sabres center Johan Larsson (22) handles the puck away from Nashville Predators left wing Kevin Fiala (22) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

Buffalo Sabres center Johan Larsson (22) handles the puck away from Nashville Predators left wing Kevin Fiala (22) during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

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