In the first two games of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, the Nashville Predators have had 12 power play chances – they have converted none of them.
On Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in the first game of the series, the Predators managed to pull out the victory over the Detroit Red Wings despite squandering 6 extra-man chances.
Friday night, Nashville was not as lucky, earning another 6 power play chances, failing to score on any and dropping the second game to Detroit 3-2.
“We moved the puck really, really well, but we can’t finish – that’s the problem right now,” Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist said. “They were bouncing on the goal line tonight a couple of times tonight and behind the goalie. We did a way better job tonight than we did the first game – too bad we couldn’t get a goal.”
During the regular season, Nashville was the top team in the NHL, converting 21.8% of their power play chances. However, in the first two games, the 0-for-12 hole is reminding some of the dismal start for the power play in the 2010 series against the Chicago Blackhawks. In that series, Nashville finished 1-for-27 with the man-advantage.
Hornqvist, however, feels that it is not yet time to hit the panic button.
“We played a really good, strong game, but we couldn’t execute chances on the power play or five-on-five,” Hornqvist said. “If we keep working like we did tonight, we know we’re going to have success in the next game.”
In both games, the Predators have had 7 shots on their 6 power plays. During Friday night’s game, however, the Predators did appear to have a little more aggression when the Red Wings went into the box.
“We could have had lots of goals tonight if we had a little luck or some bounces in front of the net,” Hornqvist said. “Some nights you don’t get the bounces you need in front and some nights you get all the bounces. If you keep working hard and doing the right things, you know you’re going to score.”
At the beginning of the second period, Detroit went to the penalty box 3 times in a period of 3:38, including 30 seconds of 5-on-3 time. They managed 5 shots across that stretch.
“We moved the puck really, really good and got the shots that we wanted to shoot,” Hornqvist reiterated. “You just have to hit the net and get some luck. We just have to move the puck really, really well, hit the net and get a goal.”
In a contrast to game one, the Predators did stop their parade to the penalty box, finishing the game with only two minor penalties. However, the failure to convert on the power play played a factor in the one goal loss.
“Some nights you get a little ‘puck luck’ in front of the net and hit a skate or whatever and then goes to an open guy,” Hornqvist said. “Now it seems like they’re in the lane all the time and they get all the luck. They’re playing hard and we’re playing hard. If we keep going and doing the right things, it’s going to come.”
Hornqvist reiterated that it was not time for the team to panic.
“We know it’s going to be a good series,” Hornqvist said. “Two good teams going after it. They come out with a split, of course we’re a little disappointed with that. Now we have to win in Detroit and we’ve done that before.”
In the end, Hornqvist came away from the game seeing one major positive.
“I think over 60 minutes we were the better team.”