Predators' recent results reaffirm goals' values increase when time runs short

All goals count the same in the NHL. Yet some just seem to be worth a little more than others.

Goals scored in the final minute of a period, for example, generally outweigh those scored at most other points of the contest.

The Nashville Predators’ last two home games have been proof positive of that.

Patric Hornqvist’s goal with 53 seconds left in the second period Saturday tied the score but likely was the difference in a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Nashville carried the play most of the night, as evidenced by its 31-16 edge in shots, but trailed 2-1 until Hornqvist squeezed home a shot from the right wing on a rush.

The momentum from that moment lasted through the intermission and the Predators got the game-winner 3:23 into the third period.

“It was a huge goal,” coach Barry Trotz said. “They didn’t have a shot in the first nine minutes of the first period. I think they had six shots after 30 minutes. … Then they score two quick ones and you’re like ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’ … It was really important in the second period when we got that late goal.”

Two nights earlier, things were largely similar when Nashville hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs. The visitors did not get their first shot on goal until nearly 14 minutes into the game and then went the first seven and a half minutes without one to start the second period.

It was disappointing, therefore, when the Predators fell behind 1-0 with 6:19 to play in the second. It was downright disheartening when the Leafs made it 2-0 with nine seconds to play before the second intermission.

Nashville ultimately lost 4-0.

“The real killer was the second goal with nine seconds to go,” Trotz said that night. “If we get through that period 1-0, I think we might get a point. But then you’re down two.”

And it probably felt like more.

The Predators continue their current five-game homestand 7 p.m. Tuesday against Florida.