The Nashville Predators remain the NHL's only team to be undefeated in regulation but there was no joy in the dressing room about that claim last night.
The bottom line is that the Preds are playing .500 hockey after three straight overtime home losses. Pittsburgh was the best team that the Predators have faced and the Preds skated toe to toe with them for over 63 minutes and wanted two points, not one.
Many folks point to injuries as a reason for the losses, but no one on the team or coaching staff would find that as an acceptable excuse. Going in to the season, the team was aware that it would be an effort of at least 30 different players over the course of the year.
The primary issue last night was that the Penguins had more left in the tank at the end of the game than the Predators did. Also, the Preds were not crisp with their passes and execution for most of the game and that led to numerous turnovers and takeaways by the Pens.
Pekka Rinne was not as sharp as he had been in his return on Tuesday. He was very disappointed with the loss after the contest.
Not to be totally negative, because the game was one of the most exciting games, from a fan's perspective, as you could have. Attendance has been out standing for October in football country.
The Preds have played to 94.8% capacity with two sellouts and only 4408 tickets unsold through five games. Last night's crowd was as loud and enthusiastic as it has ever been for a regular season game.
The Predators will need to come together and close ranks as a team as they head out on the road. Over the next 32 days they will play twice at home and eleven times in enemy territory. Over the years, road trips this time of year have been where where the team has found its identity and had success.
A good bit groundwork has been laid to this point but it's time for the team to move forward and prove that the Predators are one of the elite teams in the Western Conference.
Here is our game story with coach and player video from last night.
Josh Cooper had his game story and and postgame ponderings. Bryan Mullen discusses Sidney Crosby in his notes column.
Jim Diamond touches on a better effort with the same result.
David Boclair has his story at The City Paper.
From the blog world reports come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Brandon Felder, Mark Willoughby, Dirk Hoag (with his advances stats), Jeremy Gover, Paul McCann, Fang Finger Fever, AJ at PMFF, and Hockey Night in Nashville.
The other side of the story comes from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Tribune Review, and Pensburgh.
In Pred Nation...
Biggest news of the day yesterday was the leaked story out of Russia that Alexander Radulov has resigned with the KHL. Dirk Hoag has the story.
The OHL announced their participants in the Subway Super Series that will play a Russian squad next month in Canada. Predator prospects that were named include Ryan Ellis, Taylor Beck, and Michael Latta.
Josh Cooper looks at whether Wade Belak being in the lineup on Tuesday would have prevented some of the beat-down taken by the Preds' defensemen. He also has Marcel Goc's take on the hit that separated his shoulder.
Josh was a guest on the Illegal Curve Radio show on Wed night. Here is the podcast version.
Dirk Hoag has the latest fantasy update for Predator players.
Shea Weber makes Chris Botta's list of the NHL's seven best defensemen.
Media coverage of the Preds in the MSM is picking up. WZTV is starting a new weekly series on Smashville. This week's episode features Cal O'Reilly delivering food to the Room at the Inn.
Blake Geoffrion is off to a slow start in Milwaukee but is learning the pro game as fast as he can.
Around the NHL...
Ryan Porth has part 2 of his interview with Agent Jay Grossman. The discussion gets around to Alexander Radulov in this half.
After taking a closer look at the Eric Cole hit on Drew Doughty, it is still hard to tell how he was injured. What stands out is how late the hit was after the puck left.
Rick Rypien's disciplinary hearing should be this morning. Ryan Porth looks a a wide range of opinion as to what should be done by the league.
Matt Reitz looks at the top twelve rookies from June's entry draft and what they have done so far this season.
David Singleton demands that Gary Bettman take control of the league at Hockey Independent.
Scott Cullen looks at points per minute production. There is an interesting mix of players here early in the season.
Hell must have frozen over in Edmonton where they are looking for cheerleaders in a Canadian hockey market.
Odds and Ends...
Here's a post on making speeches more interesting. Passion appears to be the key.
Here is an interesting application that turns your smartphone into a FM radio.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass