By John Glennon
We’ll give the Predators credit for showing some backbone in their season-ending playoff loss to Arizona on Friday.
Bouncing back has not been a big strength of this team for the past couple of seasons – whether that’s from a bad goal, a bad period or a bad loss.
So if you’re a Preds fan looking for some positives to take out of this strange season, take some solace in the fact that – with their season on the line – this team refused to go away quietly. Against a stingy Arizona team, the Preds battled back from a 2-0 deficit to tie matters heading into the third, then from a 3-2 deficit by scoring with just 32 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.
We’ll credit Preds coach John Hynes, who took over from the fired Peter Laviolette on Jan. 7, for injecting some more attitude into a club that had been for months too easily broken.
“I think in the past when we got down, we struggled at times,” Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis said. “We kind of caved and were our own worst enemy at times. I think if it was the old team in a lot of the situations we were just put in, we wouldn’t have looked or played as hard as we did (on Friday).
“But Hynes has been great for this group. You can really start to feel a change in a lot of guys’ games and then the overall team game. It’s a much-different feeling than it has been.”
All well and good, but let’s deliver a rather significant reality check here as well.
A sixth-seeded and much more talented Predators team was knocked off by an 11th-seeded Coyotes bunch in a play-in round, even before the traditional first round got underway. The Predators led in just one game in this series, Game 2, which is the one contest they managed to win. Though they fought back in a couple of the other contests to force ties, the Predators weren’t once able to initiate a lead change after falling behind.