The struggling Nashville Predators were having enough trouble
finding the back of the net before hearing their leading scorer is
slated to miss some time.
Colin Wilson begins a stint on injured reserve as Nashville
kicks off a five-game road trip Tuesday night while seeking a
fourth straight win over the Dallas Stars, who might be without
forward Jamie Benn.
The Predators’ 52 non-shootout goals are tied with San Jose for
the fewest in the NHL, and they’ve scored one goal or none six
times during a 2-5-1 stretch following a 2-1 shootout loss to
Minnesota on Saturday.
In addition to those scoring woes continuing, Nashville (10-9-6)
lost Wilson to an upper-body injury after he went hard into the
boards. Wilson, who has team highs of seven goals and 12 assists,
was coming off a two-goal, two-assist performance in Friday’s 6-0
win over Edmonton.
Forward Patric Hornqvist, though, suffered an upper-body injury
in that win, and he also was placed on IR with Wilson on
Coach Barry Trotz, whose team is 0-5-1 over its last six away
from home, said Nashville will need others to step up. Forward
Brandon Yip was activated from injured reserve and could see his
first action since March 2.
“We’ve just got to go on the road now and do it as a group,”
Trotz said. “We’re getting some bodies that are nicked up. Now
we’re going to be tested even more.”
Captain Shea Weber, who has five assists over his last three
games, said there still won’t be any excuses on the trip despite
“We were trying to get something going here before we get going
on the road, but now we’re forced to do something on the road when
we go away,” Weber said.
One-third of Nashville’s 15 goals over its last eight contests
came in a 5-4 overtime win over Dallas on Feb. 25, as Roman Josi’s
second goal – he also had a pair of assists – gave the Predators
their third straight victory in the series.
Benn had an assist in that contest, but he may not be around for
this matchup after suffering a wrist injury in Saturday’s 2-1 loss
at Phoenix. An X-ray didn’t reveal a break, though he may need to
sit out at least a game for it to feel 100 percent.
“The wrist is a little sore,” Benn told the team’s official
website after Monday’s practice. “I’ll skate tomorrow and see how
Captain Brenden Morrow practiced sporadically Monday after
sitting out Saturday with a groin injury, and coach Glen Gulutzan
said he’s also a game-time decision.
The Stars (12-10-2), though, may get winger Ray Whitney back
Tuesday after he took part in a full practice. He hasn’t played
since Feb. 1 due to a broken foot and will have to see how he feels
prior to the game.
“It will be up to Whits and the doctor if it is the right thing
to do to put him in,” Gulutzan said.
Pekka Rinne stopped 52 of 53 shots while starting both Friday
and Saturday, but he’s 2-4-1 with a 3.19 goals-against average in
his last seven starts overall. He’s also been shaky at times
against the Stars, going 4-3-0 with a 3.07 GAA over his last eight
outings in this series.
Kari Lehtonen, who is 4-2-0 with a 1.93 GAA over his last seven
starts, could be in net for Dallas. Lehtonen is 5-4-0 with a 2.00
GAA in his career versus Nashville.