The first four games of the season results in 3 wins and an overtime loss. Seven of a possible eight points has Nashville sitting atop the central division and in 2nd place in the western conference. The schedule is in the Preds favor to start the season with 5 of the first 6 games at home before a stretch of 11 out of 16 on the road.
I have seen all 4 games ( 2 in person and 2 on TV) and when healthy, the Preds look to have a very strong team. They have 3 solid scoring lines with the addition of Matthew Lombardi and strong center play from Marcel Goc and Cal O'Reilly. The defense core is solid again and the addition of Shane O'Brien looks to make three solid pairings on defense.
The major question mark and fear for a potential season-wrecker was an injury to Pekka Rinne in goal with no proven backup. And going with Preds luck, Rinne sustained an injury in game 1 but Anders Lindback has responded so far with 2 wins and an overtime loss. So far, the backup position looks to be in good hands with Rinne due back in goal Tuesday against the Calgary Flames.
Other points of interest to note:
* Injuries are piling up. Already missing games or out now- Matthew Lombardi, Martin Erat, Pekka Rinne, Marcel Goc. Big names the Preds can't have out for an extended period.
* Improved- Cal O'Reilly looks very good centering Sullivan/Hornqvist and has added 4 assists in the first 4 games. Colin Wilson looks better with each passing game as he adjusts to the NHL since coming out of college last year. Legwand, Ward, Klein, Goc look to have raised their game.
* Sullivan finally healthy/confident- 4 goals in 4 games says a lot. Steve looks to have confidence the back will remain healthy and up to his old "sniper" ways. With some luck he could have 6-7 goals because he has missed on some great opportunities.
* Look out for Erat/Lombardi- The Preds are off to a great start without a point from either Erat or Lombardi. You know the goals/points will come once they are healthy which bodes well for the Preds.
As I said above, if the injuries slow down the Preds look to be on the verge of a very good season. It is early but all signs point to a strong year in Smashville.