W ith their 5-2 loss to Vancouver on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators franchise entered uncharted waters.
For the first time in franchise history, Nashville had lost 7 consecutive games in regulation.
In those 7 games, Nashville has only managed to score 8 goals. Two of those goals came off of the stick of Bobby Butler.
Butler, claimed on waivers earlier this season, is not only playing to break the losing streak – he’s playing for a contract. While Nashville is officially out of the playoff hunt, there are still several young players fighting for jobs. After being bought out by one team and put on waivers by another in the last year, Butler is definitely one of them.
“It’s good to get a couple, but I’ve got to keep working hard,” Butler said. “Everyone’s in the same position. I just wish we could get some wins.”
While the Predators went down 2-0 to Vancouver early on Monday, they rallied in the second period. Butler’s goal at 11:40 of the second period tied the game at 2. It was his 2nd goal with Nashville and his 6th point in 16 games as a Predator. He has scored at a higher rate in Nashville than several players who have been with the team for the entire season.
“I just got a great pass from Bartley up the boards,” Butler said. “I saw a chance to kind of cut it to the middle and take a shot and it got through.”
“It was good to tie it up,” Butler said, “but then they came back and got three on us, so it’s never fun when you lose.”
At 17:02 of the 2nd, Vancouver’s Jason Garrison scored a power play goal to put the Canucks back in the lead for good. The Canucks then tacked on 2 more goals for good measure, giving Vancouver a 5-2 win.
With 38 points and just 4 games left, Nashville has officially been eliminated from making the playoffs. Detroit, currently in the 8th and final Western Conference spot, has 47 points. The most the Predators can earn is 46. In fact, Nashville is only 3 points out of the last place spot in the Western Conference, a position they have not finished in since the 1999-2000 season.
The 7-game losing streak ties the worst losing streak in franchise history, matching a stretch from November 20 through December 2, 1999. However, during that stretch the Predators managed to take the St. Louis Blues to overtime. This current losing streak is the longest in franchise history consisting of all regulation losses.
With the team mired in a franchise-record losing streak and with the playoffs no longer in the picture at all, the team has still been very vocal about continuing to put forth an effort in every game. Despite the effort, the losses keep coming. Butler, however, was not about to admit that he was content to lose.
“You just have to worry about the next game,” Butler said. “You do the best you can to prepare and try to get the win.”
Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua