I guess if you're going to lose, it may as well be in the grittiest circumstances imaginable. The Predators lost a 3-2 heartbreaker against the Avalanche last night- a game that could have extended their win streak to four in a row.
Let's make one thing clear- going down 2-0 against one of the best teams in the NHL is never apt to bode well. However, when the Preds desperately scratched and clawed their way to successfully tying the game late in the third period, their comeback was hastily ripped away.
Be it the questionable goaltender interference penalty called on Colin Blackwell or the Dante Fabbro goal that was questionably waved off, the last handful of minutes in last night's game yielded more questions than they did answers.
We'll have to watch grueling postgame coverage of Colorado getting their feet kissed by the NHL for winning eight straight road games (six games in a row, home and away). Despite the loss, the Preds should still hold their heads high after last night's game.
First, the Preds held an Avalanche team that ranks fourth league-wide in Goals For to just three goals, while also tallying two of their own. Second, they hindered the league's fifth-ranked, 85-point Nathan MacKinnon to zero points last night.
They also took home the game's Corsi advantage by a wide margin- garnering 63 CF while holding Colorado to 52 CF. Out of the 63 total shots taken by both teams tonight, just 18 of them counted as high-danger chances. The Preds edged the Avs in this category, accounting for 10 of the game's HDCF.
Most importantly, the Preds bore down and displayed true relentlessness late in the third period. Even after a shaky penalty call, a game-tying goal that was waved off, and an empty net goal to put the Avs back up by two, the Preds still managed to score again in the waning seconds of regulation- the second game in a row they've done so.
Even better, the goal at 19:58 of the third was Calle Jarnkrok's first since Dec. 17 against the Islanders. Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis finished with assists on both Preds' goals last night, but Blackwell's point streak came to an end at four games.
The Preds are 6-2-1 in their last eight games and will ultimately have to stay in the ring with Winnipeg and Calgary until they can establish a better footing. Their next game is another Edmonton battle on Monday- this time at home. Connor McDavid was injured during the Preds' last meeting with the Oilers, but will be on the ice this time around.
And yes, their power play is still the most productive in the league. So discipline, gentlemen, discipline.