Preds try to tighten defense on trip to Sharks

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The Nashville Predators will try to move on from one of the worst losses in team history on Saturday night when they visit the San Jose Sharks.

The Predators have lost three of their last four games including a 9-4 loss at Colorado on Thursday night, when they allowed a franchise record for goals in a game.

Even more shocking was the way it happened. Nashville led 3-2 on a Matt Duchene goal 4:55 into the second period before the Avalanche exploded for six goals over an eight-minute span.

“I’m going to be honest, you’re not going to get much tonight, so I’m going to go and address it with them and we’ll take care of things,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said on after the game.

Captain Roman Josi said: “This is a proud locker room and we got embarrassed tonight. We have to show a reaction next game. I feel like we lost every battle. We didn’t compete. I mean, we got embarrassed out there.”

Duchene added: “We’re a veteran team and we know how to play the right way. And tonight wasn’t it. We’ll have to bounce back. You have to have a short memory whether we win or we lose. There will be things to learn from this game. It’s a really good … lesson.”

San Jose, which began the season with just four wins in its first 15 games, won its second consecutive home game Thursday night, sweating out a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Wild.

The Sharks looked like they were going to win a laugher, jumping out to a 4-0 first-period lead and leading by 6-2 midway through the third period before the Wild made things interesting with a trio of goals in a 7 1/2-minute span.

Minnesota then nearly tied it with 2:22 to go when Zach Parise went in on a breakaway, but Martin Jones made a sparkling right pad save on the initial shot and Parise’s rebound jab.

“There’s situations we need to handle better, but I’m not going to be picky,” San Jose coach Peter DeBoer told reporters. “Wins have been hard to come by, and we did enough to win a game. We’ll move to the next one.”

Tomas Hertl had a goal and two assists in the game. He has a team-high 17 points (six goals, 11 assists).

“Just can’t happen, you know?” he said of the late meltdown.

“We gave up the chances and they almost tied it up. Still, we take two points, but when we start like that we have to play all 60 minutes and don’t even give them a chance to score. We need every point right now, every game a full 60 minutes, and after the first we a little bit stopped playing.”

The contest with Nashville is the fifth game of a six-game homestand for San Jose that started with back-to-back losses to Winnipeg (3-2) and Vancouver (5-2), followed by back-to-back wins over Chicago (4-2) and the Wild.

This is the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Predators, behind two goals by Josi and 33 saves by Pekka Rinne, won the first one, 5-2, on Oct. 8 in Nashville.

–Field Level Media

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