James O'Brien

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
AP

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

Update: It doesn’t sound particularly positive for Ennis.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
AP
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Holtby halts hungry Oilers in Caps’ shutout win

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The Washington Capitals haven’t asked Braden Holtby to steal a bunch of games this season, but he reminded us that he can do just that on Monday.

Granted, it may have been fairly even at times, although the Edmonton Oilers pressed quite a bit early on in Washington’s 1-0 win.

Holtby turned aside all 33 saves, making some dazzling ones including this stop that prompted relatively saucy language from the NHL’s official feed.

Holtby is now on a four-game winning streak, improving his overall record to 12-4-0 with nice individual stats.

Dmitry Orlov was the only player to score a goal in a competitive contest.

Prey for one: Predators suffer franchise-record third straight shutout

AP
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When you’re on a scoring slump, Henrik Lundqvist is probably the last guy you want to see in the other team’s net.

Those fears were founded, too, as the New York Rangers blanked the Nashville Predators 3-0 on Monday.

With that, Nashville has now been shut out of three straight games for the first time in franchise history.

The numbers are all-around disturbing for the Predators, who really can’t afford this to go much longer in the absolutely brutal Central Division.

They lost some company in their misery, as well.

Nashville showed some frustration in this one, too, with James Neal losing his cool and Mike Ribeiro taking a game misconduct for a second straight contest.

Meanwhile, the Rangers won their ninth game in a row at Madison Square Garden while Lundqvist continues to climb historic ranks.

Reason for hope

OK, before you bury the Predators and Peter Laviolette, note a few things.

  • Nashville out-chanced the Rangers by a significant margin in this one. Here’s the Natural Stat Trick chart to drive the point home:

predsrangers

  • They’ve heavily out-shot their opponents in two of the three games during this slump.
  • Beyond that, the Predators are a good-to-great possession team.
  • This isn’t really in Nashville’s favor as much as it provides context: this skid comes during a road trip, with two more away games to go.

Long story short, these slumps happen. The Predators get a chance to get things going offensively against the Sabres in Buffalo on Wednesday.

If they don’t score then, things will get tenser, if nothing else.

Blood on the ice: Sam Gagner shaken up by hit

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Scary scene in Philadelphia, as Flyers forward Sam Gagner was bloodied by Brad Malone of the Carolina Hurricanes.

You can see the hit in the video above.

Malone wasn’t penalized for that check. He did have to answer for it in a different way, as he dropped the gloves with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare soon after that blow was delivered.

Gagner hasn’t returned to the game as of this writing.

Update: He won’t return, either.