The Nashville Predators didn’t expect to be winless after three games.
Following the best season in franchise history, the Predators again try for their first victory of the season on Saturday when they host another struggling club, the Phoenix Coyotes.
Nashville won 49 games and finished with 106 points in 2005-06, both club records, and began this season with Stanley Cup aspirations.
A terrible start has followed, though the Predators (0-3-0) remain undaunted despite scoring only three times in 21 power-play chances and allowing 17 goals in three games.
“I am surprised,” backup goalie Chris Mason said after Nashville lost 3-1 to Chicago on Thursday. “I think everybody is, but I’m not too worried. We’ve been in every game.
“We have done things that have kind of given the game away and I think that is something we can easily fix. It’s no time to panic.”
Two of Nashville’s three losses have come to Chicago, including an 8-6 defeat at home in the season opener.
“We’ve been tied in the third period of three games and not come out of them with any points,” Nashville associate coach Brent Peterson said. “It’s a little frustrating. We’re losing all different ways.
“We played much better. Much more responsible. Much more team-oriented. Now we’ve just got to find a way to finish off our chances, score on the power play, kill penalties and do everything it takes to win a game.”
The team has fared well against the Coyotes (1-3-0), who have lost three straight following a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders in their season opener.
Nashville has won six of the last seven meetings between the teams, and hasn’t lost at home to the Coyotes since a 2-1 defeat on Oct. 22, 2002.
The Predators begin a three-game road trip following Saturday’s game and have only four home games this month. They were 32-8-1 at the Gaylord Entertainment Center last season, but only 17-17-7 on the road.
Phoenix lost 2-1 at home to Anaheim last Saturday before being thoroughly outplayed in its last two defeats, getting outscored 14-3 by Columbus and Detroit.
The team was scoreless in nine power-play chances against the Red Wings and is 0-for-14 with the man advantage in the last two games.
“It wasn’t much fun out there, there’s no question about that,” Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky said after Wednesday’s 9-2 loss to Detroit. “They basically embarrassed us as a team. I don’t think our team can get much lower than this.”
The Coyotes have allowed the first goal in every game this season.
Dating to last season, Phoenix has lost six of its last seven road games.