The Nashville Predators 1-0 shutout loss to the Vancouver Canucks marked the fourth time the team was held off the scoresheet in the first 18 games of the season. A year ago, the Predators were only shutout three times in 82 contests.
The Predators have played more than a third of their games going into the third period without a goal. Head coach Barry Trotz isn’t overly concerned about the trend.
“I think we are comfortable as long as we are 0-0,” Trotz explained. “I’m not comfortable if it is 0 for us and 2 or 3 for them. Are we generating a lot more chances? Absolutely. I am not as concerned as I was a month ago, because we were generating very few chances. I think we are generating more chances so I’m not as concerned.”
The 1-0 loss marked the seventh time that Nashville entered the third period without scoring a goal. The Predators went scoreless through two in only 12 contests a season ago.
It was also the fourth time that both the Predators and their opponent entered the final frame without finding the back of the net. Nashville had won the previous three contests, including two games against San Jose as well as a 3-0 win over Phoenix. Both San Jose games went beyond regulation, one resulting in an overtime win while the other required a shootout for Nashville to pick up the two points.
One cause for concern might be the Predators lack of offensive production in the second period. Nashville has only recorded a goal in five of their 18 middle frames.
“It isn’t a trend,” Patric Hornqvist said. “It happened this game, and it can’t happen tomorrow. I think we didn’t play our best game tonight, but we were in the game the whole time. It was a tight game. There was a lot of hockey in the neutral zone, but we need to be better at home. We have to come out stronger and take it to the net more, maybe.”
For Hornqvist, the key to scoring is simple: keep improving his shots on goal. With four shots on goal against Vancouver and 20 shots since his return from injury on Feb. 18, the Sollentuna, Sweden native is third on the team in shots with 36, though he missed 10 games.
“I shoot a lot and try to create scoring chances. Sometimes it goes in and sometimes it does not. You have to spend time in front of the net. I got a couple tips, but [Luongo] saved them,” he said.
Hornqvist has one assist since returning to action Monday against Colorado.
The Predators have played five games registering less than 20 shots on goal and have come away with the win in three of those occasions. The three games that Nashville reached over the 30 shot total each resulted in a loss.