At times last week, Nashville’s Roman Josi resembled Nicklas Lidstrom or, as Barry Trotz observed, “a young Ryan Suter”.
On Thursday night, with Shea Weber returning to the lineup against the Dallas Stars, Josi was moved off of the pairing with Suter and joined Kevin Klein on the second defensive set.
Josi played all of the games with Suter on the right side of the ice. However, with Klein, Josi moved to the left side.
“I’ve played basically all my life on the left side,” Josi said. “That was the first time playing on the right with Suter, so that wasn’t a problem.”
While he may have looked like a budding all-star – or at least a budding long-term veteran – last week, Josi played the part of the rookie on Thursday as Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro knifed around him on multiple occasions.
“I had a bad first period,” Josi said. “On that one goal, Ribeiro just beat me one-on-one. I’ve got to play better there – play the body or just do something different.”
The period did not get any better for Josi from there. After slipping a few times while skating back into the defensive zone, he was on the ice for the Stars – and Ribeiro’s second goal. Unlike the first, Josi’s play had very little impact on the puck finding the net.
“I was going with Eriksson,” Josi said. “I think they got a point shot, the puck slipped behind Pekka and Ribeiro put it in.”
“It wasn’t a good first period,” Josi said. “After that was it was better, but it wasn’t my best game.”
Josi did lock it down a bit for the remainder of the game, but finished with 17:11 of ice time – a step back of seven minutes from his career best 24:41 on Sunday against the Flames.
“I just tried to play simple,” Josi said, in reference to his adjustments after the first period. “I turned it over too much in the first and there was that goal. I just tried to keep it simple and get back to my game.”
“You always learn from mistakes you make,” Josi continued.
Nashville lost the game 4-1, but the momentum was headed in Dallas’ direction after the second Ribeiro goal.
Josi finished the game with 2 shots, a blocked shot and a -2. However, the Ribeiro goal seemed to define his night.
“You can’t think about it too much,” Josi said. “I mean, I’ll think about it tonight, but tomorrow I’ve got to focus and get ready for the next game.”