At a time when the demands on organizational depth continue to rise, the standard for Nashville Predators’ replacements has been raised.
Goalie Anders Lindback, with two wins and an overtime loss in three starts, showed it is possible for role players to contribute at a high level.
“We don’t count on one guy to make a difference every single night,” forward Steve Sullivan said. “We’re going to need 20 different guys every single night to get a win. We’ve been getting contributions from a lot of different guys. That’s going to have to continue if we want to continue to win.”
Now it is time for center Nick Spaling and any who follow him to help keep the Predators’ competitive in the wake of their first defeat of the season, 3-2 in overtime against Washington on Saturday.
Spaling was recalled Monday because of injuries to centers Marcel Goc (separated shoulder) and Matthew Lombardi (concussion). The 22-year-old was recalled twice last season and played 28 games for the Predators and had just three assists.
He has one goal and one assist in four games at Milwaukee this season. Goc has been placed on injured reserve after having scored two goals and one assist in four games, which accounts for all but one goal scored by Predators’ centers thus far.
Goc is expected to miss a minimum of two weeks. Lombardi, who has sat out the last two games, is out indefinitely, and Jamie Lundmark remains sidelined by a groin injury which has kept him out since late in training camp.
Spaling’s recall came a day after goalie Mark Dekanich was sent back to Milwaukee. Dekanich served as Lindback’s backup the past three games while Pekka Rinne was sidelined by a lower body injury.
Rinne could have played Saturday, but coach Barry Trotz sid he was held out because of the success of Lindback, who is 2-0-1 with a 2.41 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. Having played just two-plus periods of the opener, Rinne is 1-0-0 with a 1.40 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage.
Beginning with Tuesday’s game against Calgary (7 p.m., Bridgestone Arena) the Predators will play four times in six days, capped by road games against Dallas on Saturday and Tampa Bay on Sunday.
“You’re going to have some bumps and bruises along the way,” Sullivan said. “We weren’t expecting (Rinne) to get hurt in the first game, but we know it’s going to take 29, 30, 31 during the season to be successful – not just the 20 guys who played (in the opener). We’re going to need more than that.”