Predators look to bounce back after Saturday’s ‘gross’ effort

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The Nashville Predators have been a frustrating hockey team this season.

A season that began with such promise is now into its fifth month of inconsistency, and coach Peter Laviolette seemed to have finally seen enough of it all on Saturday following his team’s ugly 7-4 loss to the Florida Panthers.

It was so ugly, in fact, that Laviolette would only refer to it as “Gross” when asked about it.

“We didn’t play with any purpose,” Laviolette said, when asked what was so gross about it.

“There was no passion. No effort. You’re never going to win a hockey game. The actions that we gave are going to give us the results that we got. It’s that simple.”

Just about the only positive the Predators had on Saturday (other than Viktor Arvidsson‘s hat trick) is that they are right back in action on Sunday evening against the Dallas Stars.

It also might be a good opportunity for the team to hit the reset button before they head on their bye week this upcoming week.

What had to be especially frustrating for Laviolette on Saturday is that for a couple of weeks the Predators finally started to be back on track with a 7-1-1 stretch between Jan. 10 and Jan. 26 to help them climb back into a playoff position.

But since a 4-3 win over the Blue Jackets on the 26th, the Predators have reverted back to the same maddening inconsistencies that plagued them through the first half of the season, winning just two of the six games that followed, seemingly hitting a new low point on Saturday against the Panthers. On Saturday, Laviolette referenced their inconsistency as “performance inconsistency, period inconsistency, and game inconsistency,” before criticizing their approach to the game against Florida.

“First half of the game we weren’t ready to play, second half we played it the wrong way. All we did was retaliate to their aggressiveness. That is not going to get you results either.”

Sunday’s game is a big one for Nashville, not only so they can head into their bye week on a high note and erase the sour taste that Saturday’s performance had to leave behind, but also because they simply need to start picking up points again. They enter Sunday just one point ahead of Calgary in the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference while the Stars themselves are six points back. A regulation win by Nashville could put some serious distance between them and the Stars. But a Stars regulation win not only sends the Predators into the bye on a three-game losing streak, but also helps close the gap just that much more.

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