Preds on wrong end of shootouts

Monday, January 14, 2008 at 1:54am

When it comes to shootouts the Nashville Predators have played more like the Clantons than the Earps.

And even though they got only two points over the weekend after being on the wrong end of shootouts, it was OK for coach Barry Trotz.

The Predators were outshot 2-1 in a shootout Sunday night, falling to the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 at the Sommet Center. Saturday night they lost 2-1 to the Blue Jackets in Columbus as they were beat 1-0 in a shootout. The Predators are 2-4 in shootouts this season.

“We came back twice to tie the game when it could have been disheartening,” said Trotz, who coached his 700th game. “I give a lot of credit to our guys. They showed a lot of resilience and a lot of character.

“We came out both nights hoping for two points and each night we got one. We have to keep stacking up points and move on.”

Center Radek Bonk scored the only shootout goal for the Predators. Forwards Martin Erat and Alexander Radulov both failed to score for the Predators.

Right wing Patrick Sharp, who had scored only one goal in his previous six games, scored in regulation against the Predators and also scored the deciding goal in the shootout against goaltender Dan Ellis. Right wing Patrick Kane also scored in the shootout for Chicago.

“Shootouts are what they are,” Trotz said. “Shootouts are a one-on-one skills competition. When you win them, they are great. When you lose them, they are not so great. We have to find ways to win some of those.

“We talk about it and on a daily basis we work on shootouts. We just are not executing. Radulov is 0-for-6 in shootouts. With his hands and his ability to score, he has to be better than 0-for-6. Bonk is 2-for-2. We are just going to have to rattle the deck up a little bit.”

The Predators are back in action at home Tuesday night at 7 when the Calgary Flames visit. Predators center David Legwand, with a power-play goal and an assist, knows the Predators are going to have to do more in the goal-scoring department to douse the Flames.

“We have only scored three goals in our last two games, which isn’t very good,” Legwand said. “We have to keep moving the puck and putting the puck on the net. That is going to be huge against Calgary.”

Right winger J.P. Dumont picked up a pair of assists to extend his points streak to eight consecutive games with six goals and six assists. Defenseman Marek Zidlicky scored the other goal for the Predators, also on the power play.

“We deserved a better end,” Dumont said. “We played a solid game, but we made a few mistakes here and there. That’s hockey. It is a game of mistakes.

“We capitalized on their mistakes with two goals on the power play. We are frustrated right now. We have to look at this on the positive side.”

Chicago goaltender Patrick Lalime stopped 35 of 37 shots. Ellis turned back 28 in regulation and overtime.

“Our goaltending has been really good the last three or four games,” Trotz said. “Chris Mason is back to where we want him to be. He has to build on the last couple of games. Ellis is doing what he does. It has been definitely more consistent.”

INJURY UPDATE: Left winger Darcy Hordichuk left the game in the first period with a lower leg injury and did not return.

“I would say Darcy is very doubtful for Calgary and possibly the Anaheim game,” Trotz said. “We will probably call up someone from Milwaukee.”

Defenseman Shea Weber missed his 11th straight game since injuring his leg.

Right winger Jordin Tootoo has not played since sustaining a hip flexor at Anaheim Jan. 7. He is expected to be out one-to-three weeks.

SUTER’S EFFORT SUITS TROTZ: Defenseman Ryan Suter was back in the lineup after missing the last two games as a healthy scratch.

Defenseman Kevin Klein was a healthy scratch. He had played in the Los Angeles and Columbus games in the place of Suter.

“It was a much better effort by Suter,” Trotz said. “His battle skills were really good. I thought he distributed the puck very well. He recognized danger and played a real smart game.

“He was much more complete and a lot more aware of everything around him. He participated at a high level.”

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