A team fighting for a playoff spot needs a full effort out of every player on the team, and that’s not what the Nashville Predators got in a Sunday loss to the Edmonton Oilers. In the third period of the game and with the score tied, winger Sergei Kostitsyn gave up on a play and went in for a line change, leading to an odd-man rush for the Oilers, who scored what would be the game-winning goal. Coach Barry Trotz needs to send a firm message here, and give Kostitsyn at least one night off as every point is precious right now and they are now tied with the Oilers for the tenth spot in the standings.
Kostitsyn’s season as a whole has been pretty disappointing as he has only score two goals and has 11 points. In his two previous seasons with the Predators, he scored 23 goals and 17 goals, respectively. The Predators have had problems on the offensive end this season and rank 28th in the league in goals per game. The goaltending of Pekka Rinne has been the main reason they have taken points from many close games this season, and it was not their goaltender’s fault that Edmonton got the win on Sunday. Kostitsyn’s bone-headed play gave Rinne little chance to prepare for the rush, and Lennart Petrell easily buried the puck past the sprawling Nashville netminder.
Next up for the Predators is another tough game, as they face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets are on a 10-game point streak and sit right behind the Predators in the standings. There has been no word yet regarding Kostitsyn being in the lineup tomorrow night, but Trotz should seize the chance to send the message to his players that not working hard every shift will lead to a night in the press box.