Barry Trotz got philosophical Friday while discussing the Nashville Predators’ power play.
“I always say there are portals of opportunity,” the coach said. “And you have to step through those portals of opportunity to open up everything else.”
One day later, his team stumbled and it did so at a place where it has yet to step up this postseason – the power play.
Rather than put themselves one step away from the second round of the NHL playoffs for the first time, the Predators instead were forced into an elimination game when they return to the ice 8 p.m. Monday at Bridgestone Arena.
Nashville’s failure – twice – to take advantage of a five-minute major penalty for boarding against Chicago forward Marian Hossa was a major factor in a 5-4 overtime loss Saturday, which gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinal series.
The Predators led 4-3 at the time Hossa was sent off for his hit on defenseman Dan Hamhuis. Yet even with the man-advantage, they allowed the game-tying goal with 14 seconds to go in regulation.
Then, they failed to take advantage of the remainder of the power play, which lasted for nearly the first four minutes of the overtime. Hossa scored the game-winning goal 10 seconds after he got out of the box.
Nashville is the only Western Conference team without a power-play goal this postseason. In all, it is 0-for-21.
By comparison, the Los Angeles Kings also had 21 chances in its first five games – and scored 10 times.
The rundown of the Predators’ power play woes in its series with Chicago:
• Game 1: 0-2, 3:50
• Game 2: 0-5, 9:59
• Game 3: 0-5, 6:44
• Game 4: 0-5: 7:59, including 1:18 of 5-on-3.
• Game 5: 0-4: 9:49, including 26 seconds of 4-on-3.
“Would we like to score a goal on the power play? Yeah,” Trotz said. “It would give us a better chance. But plain and simple, breaking down the power play, there’s things we have to take advantage of. We know they’re there and haven’t taken advantage of them so shame on us.
“It’s a little bit of execution and it’s a little bit of over-thinking it. We know there’s certain things they do with their (penalty kill) that we have to take advantage of and we’re not. It’s up to the players to execute them.”
No suspension for Hossa
Hossa had a supplemental discipline meeting Sunday with the NHL’s senior vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell because of his hit on Hamhuis.
Many considered it similar to a penalty against Washington’s Alexander Ovechkin during a regular-season game against Chicago. Ovechkin was given an additional two-game suspension by Campbell.
“I have made the decision that this play does not warrant supplemental discipline after considering all of the facts, including reviewing the video and speaking with Mr. Hossa,” Cempbell said in a release announcing the decision. “This play is distinguishable from recent incidents by a number of factors, including the degree of contact involved; the fact that the consequences of the play do not appear to be as severe; that this was a hockey play involving a race for the puck; that Mr. Hossa is not a repeat offender and that the call of a major penalty by the Referee was significant and appropriate.”