Seven weeks into the 2013 NHL campaign, it’s mostly been a season to forget for the Nashville Predators. Even as their fans have sold out Bridgestone Arena for 25 straight games, they have struggled with a dearth of offensive production and a recent rash of injuries. They’re still in contention, but that’s beginning to feel like a technicality. They’ve regularly failed to compete for a full 60 minutes and are heading backward. Meanwhile perennial losers like Colorado, Columbus, Calgary, Minnesota, and Dallas are making up ground on a Preds team that survived the early going on a steady diet of points from overtime losses and shootout ineptitude.
Another two or three weeks of the kind of hockey the Preds have played lately will turn this town’s focus from the playoffs to the draft. That’s if they’re not already beginning to think about the Titans or some other city’s baseball/basketball team. It would be a step backward after years of consistent playoff appearances, not enough to erode too much of the fan base’s goodwill but certainly enough to be at least a little embarrassing for team management. They’re the ones who have sold the local market in recent seasons on the potential of this franchise winning a Stanley Cup.
That wasn’t a pipe dream. For two seasons the team seemed to be within one big forward acquisition of really becoming a power in the Western Conference. They don’t look anything like that this season, though, and the time to do much more than stanch the bleeding and stumble toward a last-minute push for the eighth playoff seed is running out quickly.
Nashville Predators By The Numbers
- 0 – The number of Nashville Predators fans who felt sympathy for rich, rich man Ryan Suter after he said he was “hurt” by the reception he was given during the Preds’ 2-1 shootout loss to Minnesota on Saturday night.
1 – The number of shutouts earned by Pekka Rinne in Week 7, pushing his NHL-leading total to four.
- 2 – The number of weeks in the 2013 season (out of seven total) where the Nashville Predators have won more games than they’ve lost. Also the number of games the team has won this season without a point from Colin Wilson.
- 3 – The number of assists Shea Weber recorded in the Edmonton game. Also, the number of players in the lineup for last Friday’s game with Edmonton who were playing their first games as Nashville Predators. (Victor Bartley, Zach Boychuk, Bobby Butler)
- 4 – The number of points currently separating the Nashville Predators from the Columbus Blue Jackets at the bottom of the Central Division standings. Also, the highest number of points any Nashville Predators player has scored in a single game this season. Roman Josi did it in Week 6 against the Dallas Stars (2G-2A); Colin Wilson did it in Week 7 against the Edmonton Oilers (2G-2A). Also, the number of games (out of 25) where the Preds have scored in each regulation period.
5 – The number of points Shea Weber scored during Week 7 (all assists). Also, the number of regulation wins (out of 25 games) the Preds have earned this season. Also, the current number of inactive players who started the year on the Nashville Predators roster. (Hal Gill, Matt Halischuk, Patric Hornqvist, Colin Wilson, Brandon Yip)
- 9 – The number of games Patric Hornqvist played after returning from injury before he was injured again in Friday’s 6-0 win over Edmonton.
16 – The number of consecutive games Martin Erat has played without scoring a goal.
- 65 – The number of consecutive minutes Ryan Suter was booed every time his skates touched the ice on Saturday.
- 134:06 – The current number of consecutive minutes Pekka Rinne has played without allowing an even-strength goal.