‘We’ve got to realize the moment’

AP

The Nashville Predators felt they played a good game last night against Chicago. But in a familiar refrain for this season’s Preds, it wasn’t good enough to win.

“It wasn’t for lack of effort or chances,” captain Mike Fisher said after the 3-2 loss, per The Tennessean. “We’ve just got to execute better when the game’s on the line.”

The Preds outshot the Blackhawks by a wide margin, 38-23. But they couldn’t protect a 2-1 lead in the third period. Goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane gave the visitors the win, while the Preds’ record fell to 4-6-3 in December.

It hasn’t helped that P.K. Subban has now missed six games with a lingering upper-body injury. But then, even when the dynamic defenseman was healthy, the Preds were still having their issues. They are among the league leaders in score-adjusted Corsi, usually a good sign. But Pekka Rinne‘s .875 save percentage on the month tells a tale. The veteran goaltender hasn’t been good enough, and the defensive play in front of him hasn’t either.

Kane’s winner last night came off a 3-2 for the Blackhawks.

Though Rinne would’ve liked to come up with a save, surrendering an odd-man rush at that stage of the game — just over five minutes left, the score tied — was not on the goalie.

“I was surprised the defenseman didn’t pinch there and the next thing I knew, our bench was yelling, ‘3-on-2’ and then ‘4-on-2,'” Kane told reporters. “Their D kind of backed in, so I thought with a couple of guys driving the net I could take a shot there.”

Read more: For Pekka Rinne, a great November, followed by a dismal December 

Now three points back of a wild-card spot, the Preds (15-14-6) are right back at it tonight with another key divisional game, this one in St. Louis.

“We’ve got to realize the moment,” said forward Filip Forsberg, who’s on pace to score just 16 goals after potting 33 last season. “We still have half the season left, but you can’t just push the reset button after New Year’s and win the last 40. It’s not going to happen like that. We’ve got to get a little more urgent and obviously string some wins together.”

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