The Nashville Predators have a knack for allowing the opposition to look better than they are by giving up first goals of the season. Nashville can take a mediocre player like Jack Skille in 2010-2011 and have him explode offensively as if Crosby took the ice himself in a Blackhawks sweater. This conundrum has been noted by many Predators faithful this year and I would like to take the time to point out how very true this epidemic is…
Throughout the season for the Predators, they have been victimized by first timers. I have taken out the first 10 games of the schedule since everybody is starting out anew and first goals of the season aren’t quite as rare.
The first goal of the season for an opposing team player (after the first 10 games) came on November 9th from Devante Smith-Pelly (15 games into the season). Even though this goal pretty much just bounced in off Smith-Pelly’s chest it still counts as the first goal of his career. The Predators would go on to win the game, but other times the Predators weren’t so lucky…
Next up, the collapse. The Columbus Blue Jackets came into Bridgestone Arena with a sizable chip on their shoulder and a losing streak dating back to 2006. Jeff Carter, of all players, would score his first goal of the season for the Blue Jackets and James Wisniewski in overtime would fire the game-winner and tally his first goal of the season. A night of firsts that definitely didn’t go the Predators way.
On November 22nd Jeff Petry scores his first goal of the season and a few nights later, Derek Smith playing for the Calgary Flames would score his first career goal potting the game-winner in a 1-0 decision.
On December 1st, Aaron Volpatti would notch his first goal of the season but the Predators would hang on in a game that saw both starting goaltenders chased. Nashville wins 6-5 in regulation.
Two nights later, while playing the Buffalo Sabres in Nashville, Tyler Ennis would net the game-winning goal and the first of the season for him.
If you are keeping score that is:
7 legitimate first goals of the season
2 first career goals
3 Game-winning goals
Now, these numbers are interesting and surely there is this kind of parity prevalent throughout the league, but running the numbers can be fun, informative and useful for Predators fans that want to debate upon whom they need to focus their ire.
The ire being that the Predators need to start playing a full 60 minute effort and watch out for the unsuspecting third or fourth liner that just got called up for an injury replacement. He may just be the one that sends the Predators home with an L instead of a W.