Several NHL teams are unwilling to yield ad give up on their seasons just yet. One of those teams is the Nashville Predators who need to win, plain and simple.
Heading to San Jose the Predators faced a club Saturday night that needed to grab points to avoid playing the Los Angeles Kings in the first round. Patrick Hornqvist had two goals and an assist to lead the Preds to a 3-0 whitewash of the Sharks in San Jose.
“We’re never going to give up,” said Hornqvist, who also had an assist. “It’s a long road to make the playoffs. But as long as we have a chance, we’re going to work as hard as we can. Obviously beating two great teams is nice. I think both of them can win the Cup. It’s a good statement for our team.”
The Sharks remain one point back of the Anaheim Ducks who have two games in hand on the Sharks.
“It’s a missed opportunity,” Sharks defenseman Dan Boyle said. “Nashville went into [our] building and did their job. Unfortunately, we didn’t do ours to take advantage of that.”
Carter Hutton stopped all 35 shots from San Jose to earn the shutout.
“I have a lot of friends here that I kind of came up with,” Hutton said. “I lived with [Sharks forward Tommy] Wingels for a while. So we chirped at each other through the whole game. It was fun. It was nice to get the first [shutout]. It feels good to get a win.”
After defeating LA earlier in the week, the loss to Nashville was a disappointment.
“After the game we put together against L.A., to give a showing like that is unacceptable,” Sharks defenseman Jason Demers said. “We didn’t come out to work. We just sat back on our heels and let them take the game to us. It’s disappointing and something we’re going to obviously rectify as quick as possible here.”
For the coaching staff it was no less disturbing a loss as the Sharks were not engaged in the game.http://
“I can stand up here and use clichés or whatever, but we were emotionally not attached to the game in the second period,” McLellan said. “We’re at Game 79 and the details and the system play, you should be able to do it in your sleep at this point. We didn’t do that. I thought after the power play didn’t have success we slouched a little bit. Our body language wasn’t very good and they took the game over at that point.”
In Vancouver, the Canucks rallied from a 1-0 deficit to hang a 2-1 loss on the LA Kings.
Brad Richardson scored the winner with less than two minutes left in regulation to keep the slim playoff hopes of the club alive for now.
“What do we have to lose, right? [Coach John Tortorella] just told to have fun and go play and what the [heck],” said Richardson, who signed with the Canucks as a free agent last summer after being released by the Kings.
“It’s nice to beat those guys for sure.”
Meanwhile the Kings are back to a trend they would like to unlearn, losing leads in the third period.
“It’s frustrating,” said defenseman Matt Greene, who returned after sustaining a cut to his right leg midway through the third period. “We’ve got to start locking it down. It’s two third periods in a row. We had a lead in San Jose the other night too, and we’ve got to be able to lock these down going into the third period and win those games.”
Not much of their game worked in the third because of penalties and injuries.
“We were short a couple guys on the back, and the penalties in the third took a little steam out of us,” Kings coach Darryl Sutter said. “And then Greene going down.”
With the penalties and loss of players on the blueline, the Canucks took advantage and fired 40 shots on Jonathan Quick.http://
“We have to bear down,” Kings forward Marian Gaborik said. “We took three penalties, and they scored. We can’t have breakdowns in our zone. We have to get ready and make sure it doesn’t happen. We’re heading into playoffs. These game situations can cost us big, so we have to figure it out.”
In St Paul, the Wild moved closer to securing a spot in the post season with an impressive 4-0 win over the visiting Penguins.
Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 20 shots for the shutout.
“I think not only the good lead in the first period, the whole game the team was playing unbelievable. They did a tremendous job, they limit their best players’ time and space and it helps a lot,” Bryzgalov said. “I’m just trying to enjoy the hockey and help the team and help the guys like they helping me to get these points and help to win the games.”
With only 20 shots on goal, Pittsburgh seemed disinterested in the game.
“We didn’t play well,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “That being said, there were some bounces early on and we seemed to get some chances to get within a couple and didn’t score. We didn’t get a lot of momentum after that. We had some chances to score in the second and didn’t and the third period was pretty passive by both teams.”
Minnesota scored early and often in the first period to build a 3-0 lead and that proved enough to drain any emotion the Penguins had in themselves.
“I knew it was going to be important to get off to a good start in this game,” Wild coach Mike Yeo said. “We talked about [it], it’s not real difficult, but getting out to a good start kind of establishes the game that we need to play and then just the willingness to stick with it all game.
To me, the two challenges were how we were going to start this game and then [when] you get up, how [do] you stay with it? That was maybe the bigger challenge.”
Jeff Zatkoff got the start in the Pens net and yielded those first period goals on the first six shots but settled down after that. He ended up stopping 16 of 20 on the night.http://
“They got three goals on six shots in the first period and got out to that lead. We were certainly from behind in this game and couldn’t generate a lot going the other way,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “I think at the end there’s 20 shots apiece in this game. I think the scoring chances are going to be 10 and under for each team. There wasn’t a lot of scoring chances out there either way and they got three goals.”
Boston 5 Philadelphia 2
St Louis 0 Colorado 4
NY Islanders 3 Washington 4 SO
Toronto 2 Winnipeg 4
Montreal 5 Detroit 3
Tampa Bay 2 Dallas 5
NY Rangers 2 Ottawa 3
Carolina 1 New Jersey 3
Minnesota 4 Pittsburgh 0
Vancouver 2 Los Angeles 1
San Jose 0 Nashville 3