The Nashville Predators haven’t let the loss of several key players and off-ice issues prevent them from starting the season on a positive note.
The Predators look for a second straight win when they host the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at the Sommet Center.
Despite recording franchise bests of 51 wins and 110 points last season, Nashville (1-0-0) has been saddled with limited expectations after stars Paul Kariya, Scott Hartnell, Peter Forsberg, Tomas Vokoun and Kimmo Timonen were all let go in the offseason.
In addition, the team’s uncertain future in Tennessee continues to hang over a club that may still challenge Detroit in the Central Division.
Even with all that’s transpired since losing to San Jose in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, Nashville beat Colorado 4-0 in its season opener on Thursday.
“We have read that our team is not going to score as many goals as last season,” said Arnott of the Predators, who scored a Western Conference-leading 272 goals last season. “We know we have guys in this team who can score. But it is a combination of everybody having to contribute.”
While Arnott and Dumont - who finished second on the club with 66 points in 2006-07 - are capable of producing offensively, the key could be Mason, who won 24 of the 40 games he played and had a .925 save percentage.
“I really wanted to make a statement and hopefully I did that,” said Mason, who earned the top spot after Vokoun was traded to Florida. “Getting a shutout was as good as I could have hoped for. But this is only one game. I want to show everyone that I can do this throughout the season.”
Mason looks for another strong effort Saturday against Dallas (1-1-0), which bounced back from a season-opening loss at Colorado with a 4-1 victory over Boston on Friday. He allowed three goals in a 4-1 loss at Dallas on Dec. 29 for his only start against the Stars.
Niklas Hagman scored his second goal in as many games, while Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov each had a goal and an assist on Friday for the Stars, who went 3-1-0 against Nashville last season and have won six of the last seven meetings between the two teams.
“Year to year, it’s just different, even with the same guys, the same team,” said goaltender Marty Turco, who has won nine of his 13 starts and has a 1.84 GAA against Nashville. “The mentality from being hungry, to being deep and physically strong, that’s a key component.”
Hagman has three points in two games, and had two goals and two assists against the Predators last year.
Mike Modano had an assist Friday, and with 1,227 career points, needs six more to pass Phil Housley for most points all-time by an American-born player. Modano had three goals and an assist in three games versus Nashville in 2006-07.