Coach Barry Trotz Post=game comments
Colin Wilson, Pekka Rinne, Steve Sullivan, and Triston Grant Post-game comments
The Nashville Predators lost to the Edmonton Oilers 6-1 in what has to be considered one of the poorest all-round performances at the Sommet Center in the Pred’s recent history.
On a night that was supposed to be the NHL coming out party for rookie Colin Wilson, many of the other participants forgot to show up and participate in the celebration.
Wilson was actually one of the few bright spots in what was otherwise a one-sided contest where nothing the Predators attempted appeared to go in their favor.
The game got off to a good start for the Predators as they were putting pressure on Oiler goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers and forced him to make several good saves.
Triston Grant squared off against Oiler Zach Stortini in one of the longest fights in memory. Both teams appeared to have gotten a spark from the fairly even skirmish.
Then at 7:11 in the period the tide turned against the Predators with an Oiler goal on an odd man rush by Shawn Horcoff. That was just the beginning. Before the period ended Gilbert Brule had a goal and Zach Stortini had two giving the Oilers an insurmountable 4-0 lead.
Coach Barry Trotz blamed it on the hockey gods saying, “Against Buffalo, in the first period, we probably gave up three times as many chances as we did tonight. You look at the first period, every time they got a chance it ended up in our net.”
Trotz continued, “The hockey gods, I know a lot of people don’t believe in them, but I do. If you cheat, they sort of pay you back. Against Buffalo we gave up way too many chances, and tonight we didn’t give up as many chances, but everything they touched went into the net.”
Trotz also indicated that the team got away from their plan, “If you get away from your plan and start improvising only bad things can happen.”
The defensive pairing of Dan Hamhuis and Kevin Klein was caught out of position on several Oiler goals. Hamhuis was a minus-3 on the night in spite of assisting on Jason Arnott’s lone Predator goal.
Trotz was generous in his comments on Hamhuis and Klein and willing to spread the blame, “I thought that pair was not strong all night. They are going to have off nights but there are five guys on the ice, not just two.”
The Predators have not generated any offense other than that produced by the first line. In fact, Edmonton’s six goals on Tuesday night matched the Predator’s season total though four games (one score in the totals was a result of a shoot-out win and was not an actual goal).
Something will have to change for the Predators as the current one and a half goals per game is not going to produce many wins. Trotz improvised with a lot of different lines in the third period attempting to find a combination that might work. One that he liked was “Erat, Wilson and Ward, who knows I may keep that one together. Maybe they will have some chances and do some scoring. They were pretty good.”
Colin Wilson was one of the better players on the ice tonight in the losing effort. Trotz commented, “Individually, I thought Wilson was really good. I liked him a lot. When he was out there (he) created chances, went to the hard areas, and forced himself to the net and good things happen when you do that. For someone who hasn’t played in a few weeks he jumped in there pretty well. He’s only going to get better.”
It was not the type of start for the team that Wilson would have hoped for at the beginning of a career. Wilson said, “Obviously not the result that the team wanted. I was able to adjust to the play pretty well, but not a good outcome.” Wilson played several more minutes that was expected and still felt good as he continues to recover from his injury.
The other highlight of the evening was the very long bout between Triston Grant and Zach Stortini. Grant was still enthusiastic after the game, “(There was) communication between the players and the refs, neither guy wanted to go down so it was a good fight. No one came out a winner or loser, I think it was a pretty close fight and it gets both teams going plus the fans so that’s what it’s there for.”
Goalie Pekka Rinne gave up four goals on nine shots before being pulled at the end of the first period and was willing to take the blame after the game, “It’s easy to say when you get pulled that I didn’t do this or that but before the game I felt good but it just didn’t go my way. I didn’t play well, that’s the bottom line.”
The Predators return to the ice on Tuesday for practice to prepare for the trip to Dallas for a Wednesday rematch with the Stars. A couple of weeks ago the Preds won 3-2 in a shoot-out in the opening game of the season. The next home game will be Thursday night when the Predators return home to play the Chicago Blackhawks.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass