The Nashville Predators are now officially on their worst losing streak ever in the Peter Laviolette era.
Losing their sixth straight game, the Preds now have four losing streaks of at least six games since 2014, when Laviolette came on board. While technically they’ve had losing streaks this long in the past, given how the last couple weeks of gone, it feels safe to say this is a new low for the Preds.
And boy was it difficult to watch.
The Canucks built their 6-3 win primarily on the backs of their power play. The Preds took six penalties on the night, giving up six power play opportunities, and the Canucks scored on five of them. They even added a shorthanded goal, an empty netter, for good measure.
While the penalties were a big problem, the Preds actually played well at even strength. They had 48 shots on the Vancouver net and Jacob Markstrom stopped 45 of them, most of which were pretty spectacular saves.
It’s difficult to see a team be so inconsistent on the ice. Committing terrible penalties, giving up power play goals, not getting quality shots on the net.
The home fans let the team know how they felt too. The “boos” could be heard after both the 2nd and 3rd periods, though it is possible they were booing the referees as well (who had some questionable calls).
Though the team has had six game losing streaks before, given how the season ended last year and given the changes the front office made in the offseason, this feels like a new low for the Nashville Predators.
Canucks control Preds with power play
Of course, once again, the biggest news ahead of the game was who didn’t play for the Preds. Kyle Turris was scratched for the 2nd straight game, expanding the curiosity of Tuesday’s move to Thursday night.
But on a night like tonight, I’m not sure Turris would have made much of a difference, as he doesn’t play on the penalty kill.
The Preds started off much better in this game than they did on Tuesday against Winnipeg. Not only did they not get scored on in the first 18 seconds, they took a 1-0 lead midway through the 1st period.
Ryan Johansen took a nice pass from Roman Josi, then broke in and put a backhander on Jacob Markstrom to give the Preds an early lead.
Just like in the last Preds meeting with Vancouver, the Canucks power play was on fire tonight. They put two quick power play goals on the Preds in the 1st period to make it a 2-1 game after 20 minutes, including one by Elias Pettersson.
The Preds tied up with a power play goal of their own when Calle Jarnkrok one-timed a shot by Markstrom on the man advantage. But it didn’t last long.
The Canucks put up two more power play goals in the 2nd period, one by J.T. Miller and one by Brock Boeser, to make it 4-2. Then Bo Horvat scored again just as another power play expired to make it 5-2.
Matt Duchene did score to make it 5-3 late in the 3rd, but an empty netter by Tanner Pearson iced the game at 6-3.
Peter Laviolette “hasn’t felt any” pressure
As far as post-game quotes go, hockey players and coaches don’t usually stand out in the world of sports. But after the loss on Thursday, Peter Laviolette had an interesting one.
When asked if he felt any pressure “from above” by Adam Vingan of The Athletic, Laviolette said: “I haven’t felt any.”
— AtoZSports Nashville (@AtoZSports) November 22, 2019
This is curious for two reasons. One, it’s not a very typical “coach speak” response. Most players and coaches might say something like “this is a results oriented business and we need to get better results” or “everyone always feels pressure” or some other cliche.
The other reason is because he seemed extremely casual about the whole thing. Surely a coach of a team in its longest losing streak ever would admit that there is some pressure from somewhere? Laviolette seemed about as worried about the current losing streak as someone who just got shorted a few french fries at a fast food drive thru.
I’m not sure what it would really take for David Poile to fire Peter Laviolette. Barry Trotz lasted 15 years and there were some bad years in there. My hunch is that Laviolette would have to miss the playoffs before any real consequences. But a few more nights like tonight and a few more “ho hum” attitudes about the team’s performance might bring an earlier curtain call.
— Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports —