The Nashville Predators have lost four straight games. The last three defeats have been outright losses by a combined score of 13-5.
Tonight the Preds are in Edmonton to take on the Oilers, after which they’ll travel to Calgary for a game tomorrow. Then, on Thursday, they’ll play for the third time in four nights against the Canucks in Vancouver.
In other words, things could easily get worse for Nashville before they get better.
“We’re an easy team to play against right now,” forward Patric Hornqvist told the Tennessean today. “We know what we have to do and we have to show it — come out like a new group of guys, take the puck deep, hold onto it and hopefully create some cycles and be hard to check.”
Nobody needs to tell Preds fans how important this season is. Even with goalie Pekka Rinne signed for the long run, it’s still up in the air whether Ryan Suter or Shea Weber will be part of the team for much longer.
Obviously it’s still early in the schedule, but the next three games are key ones for the Predators. They’re already three points out of a playoff spot and they don’t want that gap to grow too wide, especially while they’re negotiating with Suter.
Just something to keep an eye on this week.
Didn’t take long for Jack Eichel to make his mark at the NHL level.
The No. 2 overall pick at this year’s draft scored his first-ever NHL goal in his first-ever NHL game on Thursday night, cutting Ottawa’s lead to 2-1 in the third period of Buffalo’s season-opener.
Marcus Foligno and another new Sabre, Evander Kane, registered the assists on Eichel’s marker, which came on the power play.
Chances are Robin Lehner won’t look back fondly on his first game as a Sabre.
Midway through Buffalo’s season-opener against Ottawa, Lehner — facing his old team for the first time since getting traded this summer — suffered a lower-body injury, and was forced from the contest.
During the second intermission, the Sabres ruled out Lehner for the night.
It was a difficult turn of events for 24-year-old, who admitted he was keen to go up against the Sens. He had a bit of a chip on his shoulder about his time in the Canadian capital; Lehner felt he never got a full opportunity to run with the No. 1 gig, and probably wasn’t thrilled GM Bryan Murray opted to keep Craig Anderson and Andrew Hammond instead of him.
As for tonight’s injury, details are scarce. All that’s known is the ailment was serious enough for Lehner to leave and not return, forcing backup Chad Johnson into duty.
Prior to getting hurt, Lehner had stopped 11 of 12 shots faced.