Andrew Brunette’s heart-wrenching reaction to Predators losing in Round 1 — ‘Hockey’s cruel’

The Nashville Predators had an excellent opportunity to send their Western Conference first-round series with the Vancouver Canucks back north to Canada for Game 7 — but instead, the team was unable to score a single goal in a back-breaking 1-0 loss in front of the home crowd on Friday night.

The Canucks scored with under two minutes left in regulation to book their ticket to Round 2, and will move on to play the Edmonton Oilers for the Pacific Division crown.

For the Preds, it’s another early exit from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. And Jack Adams finalist Andrew Brunette knew the game could have went either way.

“You’re going to get in one of these games, and hockey’s cruel sometimes,” the head coach told reporters after the defeat, per the Associated Press.

“That’s going to keep me up all night, probably,” Brunette added when asked about the team’s inability to score on a four-minute powerplay in the second period, according to’s Robby Stanley.

“Looking on the flip side, they only got two power-play goals too [in the series]. I’d probably replay that last 33 seconds. I thought we had some things that were there that we missed. It needs to be better. I take responsibility for that. At the same time, we put ourselves in opportunities to make plays. We just, unfortunately, didn’t make the plays.”

The Predators had some great chances, but were unable to beat Canucks rookie Arturs Silovs once in the contest — including on a 6-on-4 advantage with under a minute left in regulation.

And with that, Nashville remains without a Stanley Cup Playoff series win since 2018.

Predators exceeded expectations, but it’s still a disappointing ending

Nashville Predators right wing Michael McCarron (47) reacts to the win by Vancouver Canucks during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena.
Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

After marching all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017 — eventually losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games — the Preds won the President’s Trophy the next season. They would eventually bow out to the Winnipeg Jets in Game 7 of the second-round that year.

Fast forward six seasons and the franchise hasn’t had postseason success since. It’s disappointing ending, especially failing to score a single goal in front of a raucous crowd at Bridgestone Arena in Tennessee.

“We got caught back on our heels a bit,” Predators forward Ryan O’Reilly admitted afterwards, per Stanley. “I don’t know if it was kind of just frustration of not kind of generating anything, but they made a strong push back. It was too late. They got a big goal, and we just didn’t take the momentum back like we needed to. Give them credit, they played us well. It stings.”

After a slow start to the 2023-24 campaign, Nashville was one of the better teams in the league for the second-half, and proved they’re no pushover after securing the top wild card spot in the West. But it’s still back to the drawing board for a team that just can’t find playoff success with this core.

“The Predators have lost six straight playoff games on home ice, taking some of the luster off the franchise’s reputation as Smashville,” wrote AP. “They haven’t won a postseason series since 2018 after winning the President’s Trophy a season after Nashville’s unexpected run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2017.”

It’ll be intriguing to see if Andrew Brunette will be running it back with the same roster in 2024-25, or if the front office will make some tweaks during another long offseason in Nashville.

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