The Nashville Predators still have a four-point cushion between them and the second best team in the Central Division, but they must now find a way out of a losing streak that hit five games Thursday.
Facing the New York Islanders, in contention for the Metropolitan Division, the Predators quickly erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, scoring twice in 31 seconds. But just over three minutes later, with the score even, the Predators surrendered a goal to Brock Nelson and would eventually lose 4-3.
Five straight losses.
“I really think we’ve got to look at the team,” said Predators head coach Peter Laviolette, as per NHL.com.
“We’ll get out of this together. Our guys have done an excellent job of staying tight as a group. There’s lots of things that could have been better tonight as well, still. We still gave up scoring chances, and we gave up chances point-blank in front, so there’s things that we can do better. I think it’s important that we stick together right now.”
The St. Louis Blues, also losers in Philadelphia on Thursday, still trail the Predators by four points. Given their solid play right up until the end of February, it’s next to impossible to see this skid eventually costing Nashville a playoff position. But it’s a spot of adversity in the stretch drive.
Four of their last five losses have come against teams currently holding down a playoff spot.
The Islanders, with the win, jumped back ahead of the New York Rangers for top spot in the Metropolitan Division with 87 points. That’s only four back of the Anaheim Ducks for the Presidents’ Trophy as the league’s best regular season team.