The Nashville Predators dug themselves an insurmountable hole in the first half of the opening frame in their 7-4 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix took a 5-0 lead just 8:26 into the contest.
“It was embarrassing,” goalie Pekka Rinne said after the game. “Everything they did found a way to the back of the net. They came out and scored quick goals. I think it had been a while for that kind of first 10 minutes. It’s tough. At this point of the season, we still do these things to us. We do it to ourselves. It is a bad time of the year, obviously.”
Rinne allowed three goals on four shots and was pulled just 3:50 into the game.
“The first 10 minutes was just bad hockey by us. They executed and got some easy goals. Even though we were playing at home, it is hard to come back after 5-0. The guys did a great job trying to find a way to come back and get some spark,” Rinne explained.
Nashville forward Martin Erat agreed.
“We just didn’t show up. It was one of those games. It’s so important for us to get points from every single game and we just didn’t show up,” he said.
Chris Mason took over in goal for the rest of the first period, but did not fair much better than Rinne. Mason allowed two goals on the first three shots he faced.
“Early, I didn’t think we were in that mindset,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “Every puck and every bounce went in the net. They scored three goals on four shots. Then, five goals on seven shots. Mentally, that’s pretty stunning, because that doesn’t happen very often. I’ve been here a long time. I can’t remember being down 5-0 so quickly in the game.”
The Predators tried to make a game of it, scoring two goals in 30 seconds when David Legwand and Rich Clune picked up their eighth and fourth tallies of the campaign to bring Nashville within three of tying the game.
Phoenix and Nashville exchanged goals 32 seconds apart before the end of the period to make it 6-3.
“They did everything they could to come back, but we gave them too much leeway at the beginning,” Rinne said of the Predators attempts to get back into the game.
“It’s pretty embarrassing in your own building,” captain Shea Weber said. “I think guys did show a lot of character and battling even though we were down five to nothing. We tried to get back in it. The guys are still blocking shots. [Mike Fisher] takes one in the neck or in the chest. He’s still dedicated. That’s good to see, but starts were definitely unacceptable.”
“They always say if you work hard the luck comes to that. Today we worked hard but we didn’t work smart enough. Everything ended up being in our net,” Erat added.
The six goals that the Predators allowed in the opening frame ties the most allowed in one period in franchise history. The record was originally set on Mar. 11, 2010 in the third period against the San Jose Sharks.
With the Predators down by three goals to start the second period, Rinne’s night wasn’t over as he was back in goal for Nashville when the puck dropped to start the middle frame. In total, he made 16 saves on 20 shots faced.
The Nashville netminder said the decision to put him back in goal was a joint decision between himself and Trotz.
“I wanted to go back there and do a little bit better,” Rinne said. “Just stop the bleeding, just do your best and like I said try not to give up anymore than we already did. Unfortunately, they got that the seventh goal at the beginning of the second period. Right now, it is just hard.”
“He’s our number one goalie. I was trying to restart the group,” Trotz said when asked about the decision to put Rinne back in the Nashville net.