Rinne: “I’m pretty sick and tired of this losing thing”

Nashville, TN, United States / The Game Nashville
Rinne: "I'm pretty sick and tired of this losing thing"

Make it six.

In front of yet another sellout crowd at Bridgestone Arena, the Nashville Predators couldn’t get back in the win column and dropped a 3-2 decision to the Winnipeg Jets.

It was Nashville’s sixth loss in a row. For a team that hadn’t lost two consecutive games in regulation all season long until February 26, six consecutive seems almost unbelievable.

“Going through adversity can be good but this is enough now,” goaltender Pekka Rinne said. “You don’t want to go through this for too long. If you ask me, I’m pretty sick and tired of this losing thing.”

Early in the opening frame, the Jets thought they were going to take the 1-0 lead. Lee Stempniak got in behind the Nashville defense but Seth Jones not only got back but played Stempniak perfectly in order to break up the scoring chance.

Unfortunately, that was just delaying the inevitable as, a little bit later, they would do what 10 of Nashville’s most recent opponents have done: score first. Andrew Ladd had the puck along the wall in the attacking zone and the Winnipeg captain sent the puck across the crease to a breaking Michael Frolik who deposited his 15th goal of the season.

“It’s something that we’ve talked about,” Rinne said about surrendering the first goal in 11 straight. “The last few games, we’ve had a good start. Even tonight. There’s just not a lot of puck luck right now either but it’s never just luck. You have to earn your luck by working hard.”

In the second period, the Predators came storming back. Hutchinson slammed the door on multiple chances but then, at the halfway mark of the contest, Mike Ribeiro won a faceoff deep in the Winnipeg zone and Ryan Ellis took a shot from the point that deflected off of Jiri Tlusty – then Tyler Myers – before finding its way past Hutchinson to tie the game.

Just seconds later, however, the Jets retook the lead. With Rinne still in position from the initial shot, Blake Wheeler saw the rebound come right to him in the slot. He made no mistake and notched his 18th of the year.

The Jets would add the empty netter in the final minute by Drew Stafford to round out the scoring and hand Nashville’s its sixth loss in a row.

“It took us a while just to lose two in a row and now we’re at six,” Mattias Ekholm said. “It’s frustrating but we need to focus on the positives. We’re playing hard, it’s not like we aren’t trying. It’s frustrating but we’re a good team and we are going to battle out of this.”

Despite the recent struggles, Ekholm and the Predators still sit atop the Central Division standings with a 41-19-7 record. But they won’t get a chance to use the friendly confines of lower Broadway to try and get off the schnide. They now head out to the west coast for a four-game road trip that will take them through Glendale, Arizona before hitting all three NHL cities in California.

“We need to come out strong in the first game,” Mike Santorelli said. “It’s a tough road trip for sure but we need to set the tone in that first game.”

Puck drops at 9:00pm Central on Monday and you can listen to all of the action on 102.5 The Game.

MY THREE STARS (as voted on with 6:01 remaining in regulation):
1. Blake Wheeler (WPG)
2. Michael Frolik (WPG)
3. Ryan Ellis (NSH)

THE THREE STARS OF THE GAME:
1. Blake Wheeler (WPG)
2. Michael Frolik (WPG)
3. Ryan Ellis (NSH)

PHOTO CREDIT: Jeremy K. Gover // TheGameNashville.com

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