Senators @ Predators
Prev game : Hurricanes, Saturday, November 5th
Cold : Austin Watson - 0P in last 7 GP
Injured : Miikka Salomaki (IR), Anthony Bitetto (IR), Mike Fisher (DTD)
It’s been a rough start to the season for the Nashville Predators. They were a strong team last season, and expected to be on the upswing, but have stumbled out of the gates.
Their big move, of course, was to trade Shea Weber for P.K. Subban. Subban has been off to a bit slower start than I’m sure they would have liked, with just six points in 11 games. Scoring in general has been a problem - 28 goals in 11 games puts them in a three way tie for 19th lowest goals per game (a tie that notably includes the Sens). It’s only a difference of a pair of goals compared to last year’s pace, but with the way scoring has been wonky across the league this season that’s a fair bit below average.
The penalty kill has been another area of concern for the Preds. It ranks near the bottom of the league, both in success rate and in terms of the number of shot attempts their kill has been allowing.
Senators @ Sabres
Prev game : @Bruins, Monday, November 7th
Cold : Tyler Ennis - 0P in last 6 GP
Injured : Jack Eichel (IR), Evander Kane (IR), Nick Deslauriers (DTD), Hudson Fasching (DTD), Zack Bogosian (DTD)
Overall, the Sabres had a pretty good week. In addition to the win over Ottawa, they beat Minnesota as well, and probably should have won against the Leafs in an otherwise dominant effort.
Most of what I wrote about them last week still holds true - they’re still not scoring very much, except on the power play, they’ve still got some key injuries in Eichel and Kane, and while the penalty kill has dropped a few ranks it’s still in the top half of the league.
One difference is Robin Lehner - he sure didn’t struggle last week.
Kings @ Senators
Prev game : @Canadiens, Thursday, November 10th
Cold : Anze Kopitar - 0P in last 5 GP
Injured : Marian Gaborik (IR), Jonathan Quick (IR), Jeff Zatkoff (IR), Andy Andreoff (IR), Brayden McNabb (IR)
On one hand, the Kings are lower in the standings than they probably should be. They’re brutally out-shooting their opponents, and have the second highest rate of shot attempts for and third lowest against. That holds for special teams too - they’re one of the top teams for applying pressure on the power play, and keeping it off on the penalty kill.
On the other hand, Jonathan Quick has been out since the first period of the season. Backup Jeff Zatkoff managed to make it to the morning skate before game 5 before being injured. Peter Budaj, he of the .903 career save percentage, has been carrying the load for the team since then. Rumours have been swirling about the Kings trying to bring in some outside help for the net since Zatkoff went down with a number of names involved (including Mike Condon at one point), but nothing yet.
At the other end of the ice, their scoring has been abysmal. For all their talent at getting the puck to the net, they’re running along at a team shooting percentage of 6.67%, second worst in the league - and that’s after scoring five against Calgary over the weekend. Whether it’s something off in their play or just bad luck, it won’t last forever before going back to more normal levels (but hopefully it lasts through Friday).
Wild @ Senators
Prev game : @Flyers, Saturday, November 12th
Cold : Jared Spurgeon - 0P in last 4 GP
Injured : Victor Bartley (IR), Erik Haula (DTD), Marco Scandella (DTD), Zach Parise (DTD), Zac Dalpe (IR)
Like Ottawa, the Minnesota Wild are adjusting to a new coach (I’m sure we all remember who that is) with a new system. So far the results have been okay - their 6-4-1 record is good enough for third in the Central, with fewer games played than most of the division.
Process wise, it’s been a bit rougher. They’re near the bottom of the league in 5 on 5 shot attempt share, while the individual games have been all over the board in terms of that.
Devan Dubnyk has been on fire for the Wild, and is currently rocking the league’s third best save percentage. He had a pair of rough games to start the season, but hasn’t allowed more than two goals since then and strung three shutouts together in a row. He’s a big, big part of why the Wild lead the league in goals against per game at an even 2. He’s a big piece of why they’ve got the league’s most successful penalty kill, though the team has done a very good job of limiting chances while down a man as well.