Returning with, for all intents and purposes, the same lineup that finished with the fifth-most points in the NHL last season and advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Nashville Predators figured to have a leg up on the competition in a shortened season preceded by only a week of training camp.
So much for conventional wisdom.
On Monday in a 4-0 loss to Phoenix when 16 of 18 Preds' skaters had played for the team last season along with their goaltender that night -- Nashville was shut out for the second time in three games, representing their third straight loss on the fourth game of what is a seven-game road trip.
As a result, the Preds find themselves in some unfamiliar territory with their record looking more like a child's lesson in counting 1-2-3 than what it usually looks like. Goalie Pekka Rinne, who led the league in wins last season, has yet to put a notch in the "W" column. The two-time Vezina Trophy finalist's save percentage, often among the...