Were they due? The Nashville Predators entered Tuesday night’s meeting with the St. Louis Blues with just 14 goals scored in eight games.
Then, they dusted off their Central Division opponents by a final score of 6-1 on the road. It was the first time this season the Predators scored more than three goals in one game.
The Predators also got scoring from six different players, erasing the memory of a 3-0 loss to the Blues on Jan. 24.
“It’s not easy to come to this building, playing against one of the top teams, and defensively they are always solid,” Predators goalie Pekka Rinne told The Tennessean.
“Scoring six goals against them is big for us. We’ve been struggling to score goals, so it feels great right now.”
Rinne made 31 saves, including 27 through the final two periods. He faced just four shots during the opening 20 minutes.
“They were a step-and-a-half ahead of us for the whole period,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told NHL.com. “They were harder on pucks, quicker to close, checked us to death.
“They were in the form that they had played against top-level competition. They played really sound in the first period, and we were not ready for that level and we got down 3-0.”
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.