Before the Nashville Predators can declare themselves ready for the NHL playoffs, they have to be better at the "after."
After a goal is scored. After an intermission. Things like that.
Too often in recent games the Predators have allowed a goal too soon after something else. Thus it figures to be a point of emphasis when they continue their four-game road trip Thursday at San Jose (9:30 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee).
“[It’s] when you get the crowd going and get that momentum … and then they score right away,” coach Barry Trotz said. “We have to manage that.”
In Monday’s shootout victory at Phoenix, the Predators went up 1-0 when Martin Erat scored in the final minute of the first period. The Coyotes tied it 49 seconds into the second.
Two nights earlier at home against Detroit, a 1-0 lead lasted all of 13 seconds. Two games prior to that, the Los Angeles Kings responded to a game-tying goal by Patric Hornqvist with a go-ahead goal eight seconds later.
Even with those missteps, Nashville still beat both Phoenix and Detroit. The game with Los Angeles was its only loss in the last five.
“It’s happened, obviously,” center David Legwand said. “We just have to stop it from happening. … It’s a big thing and we have to work on getting better at it.”
That’s the problem. It’s not the kind of thing that coaches can simulate in a workout.
“It’s not like you can practice that unless I can get 18,000 fans in here, or whatever,” Trotz said. “You just have to bear down. Bear down, make sure you’re detailed and make sure your battle skills are real high.
“As for [the other team], after you get scored on that next shift is huge. You know they’re going to try to respond real quick.”
It’s what happens after nearly every goal.