The Nashville Predators lost to the Dallas Stars on Friday night at Bridgestone Arena by a score of 5-2, their fifth consecutive loss. While the Predators aren’t mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season as of yet, it would pretty much take a miracle for them to get in.
It’s been a frustrating season for the Predators. They haven’t been able to consistently play well and have recently suffered a lot of injuries to some of their top players. They’re now in unfamiliar territory, playing the role of spoiler for the first time since the 2002-03 season. That’s something that the majority of players in the locker room are unfamiliar with.
“I can’t really explain much that’s happened this last stretch. It’s frustrating and disappointing. We’ve got a good group in here. We’re short on bodies and stuff like that, but we’ve still got to work hard and try to play spoiler. We’ve got six games left, and we’ve just got to try and make the best of it,” said Predators defenseman Jonathon Blum.
Nashville’s frustration seems to be building with each passing game. No matter what they do, the Predators can’t seem to find a way to win games. They out-shot the Stars by a 28-18 margin on Friday, but the Stars were able to score five goals on those 18 shots on Nashville goaltender Chris Mason. The Predators have not had luck on their side this season.
“It’s tough. At times, we’ve all gone on streaks. We went on losing streaks, we went on winning streaks and never really found our team game and got on a roll. Like I said, we’ve got six games to try and spoil some teams’ playoff futures and try to get some wins in the last couple games,” Blum said.
One of the strangest parts about Nashville’ struggles this year is the fact that the majority of the team is the exact same from when they finished fourth in the Western Conference last season. Of course, the Predators had big losses in Ryan Suter, Alexander Radulov, Francis Bouillon and Andrei Kostitsyn, but it seems like luck just hasn’t gone their way all season long.
“Yeah, that and chemistry, stuff like that. Short season. Short training camp. Who knows? It’s been a lot of up and downs and frustrating. We had most of the group [from last year] and have been plagued with injuries. It’s hard to use that as an excuse, but sometimes when you lose your top guys and leaders and stuff like that it’s difficult. Young guys get chances, but it’s still not the same,” Blum said.
Nashville will try to play spoiler to long-time Central Divison rival Detroit on Sunday night when the Red Wings come to Nashville for the final time as a divisional rival before realignment takes place next season.