The Nashville Predators have compiled a respectable 5-4-1 record and have played better in the last week, picking up back to back home wins against the Lightning and the Ducks.
Coach Barry Trotz was asked what he thought about the first ten games after Saturday's contest. "We're still growing and we are still trying to find our identity. A game like this will help us find our identity. We had to come together tonight not only from a physical standpoint but ten of our first 15 games are on the road so we wanted to establish some home ice dominance and that was a step in the right direction.
This week, we actually played very well at home. I really believe we should have had a point against San Jose earlier in the week. We got four points and I really felt we should have had five. That's a step in the right direction."
Here is a look back at the Predators' record in the first ten games and how they ended the season.
|1998-1999||3-6-(1)-0||28-47-(7)||4/12 - 63|
|1999-2000||4-5-(1)-0||28-40-(7)-7||4/13 - 70|
|2000-2001||4-2-(3)-1||34-36-(9)-3||3/10 - 80|
|2001-2002||3-5-(2)-0||28-41-(13)-0||4/14 - 69|
|2002-2003||1-5-(1)-3||27-35-(13)-7||4/13 - 74|
|2003-2004||4-5-(1)-0||38-29-(11)-4||3/8 - 91|
|2005-2006||8-1-1||49-25-8||2/4 - 106|
|2006-2007||6-3-1||51-23-8||2/4 - 110|
|2007-2008||4-6-0||41-32-9||2/8 - 91|
|2008-2009||5-4-1||40-34-8||5/10 - 88|
|2009-2010||3-6-1||47-29-6||3/7 - 100|
|2010-2011||5-2-3||44-27-11||2/5 - 99|
From looking at the chart, there is no direct correlation to the team's record in the first ten games and the overall finish, but there are some interesting items in specific years.
In 2000-2001, which was the most successful season of the first five, the team had the only winning record during that era in the first ten games.
In the first year that the Preds made the playoffs in 2003-2004, the start wasn't anything special but the team started a 10-2 run on November 8 in their 14th game that pretty much launched them into the postseason.
The team's best start came out of the lockout in 2005-2006 when they won the first eight games and got a point in game nine in Columbus. They continued to stay hot and were 24-7-3 through 34 games. They cooled down after that point, going 25-18-5 for the rest of the season.
The following year, when they totaled 110 points, the Preds opened the season with three straight losses before going on a 13-2-3 run. They played they worst hockey of the year at the end of the season when they finished 5-5-2.
The start to the 2007-2008 season included a six game losing streak beginning in the third game.
In the one season in the last seven that the Predators did not make the postseason in 2008-2009, there was nothing in the team's 5-4-1 start to indicate that they would not continue to make the playoffs.
The 3-6-1 start the following year was cause for concern for Predator fans and included a six game losing streak that was finally broken in a thrilling 6-5 overtime win in Ottawa.
Last season was a memorable start for the team as they were the last team in the NHL that did not have a regulation loss when they started 5-0-3 behind rookie goaltender Anders Lindback.
In conclusion, it is hard to predict the where the team will end up in April based on the opening ten games of the year, but the nuances of the individual years have been interesting at times.
The Predators will begin a five game road trip tonight in Chicago at 7:30 p.m. in a game that will be televised on Fox Sports Tennessee.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOntheGlass