The Nashville Predators continue to look for something that they haven’t had recently from the final forward on their roster.
Chances are it’s not goals. Pretty much every other center, right wing or left wing has contributed in that regard over the last three weeks.
Martin Erat and J-P Dumont became the latest to do so when each scored Sunday in Nashville’s 6-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.
That brought to 12 the number of different forwards who have scored in the last nine games, seven of them Nashville victories. That dozen has accounted for all but four of the team’s 31 goals over that stretch, which included a season-high six-game win streak.
Dumont found the net twice as Nashville split the home-and-home set with the reigning Stanley Cup champions. The Predators took the opener 3-2 in a shootout Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.
His second made it 3-2 Nashville just 3:45 into the third period, but Chicago finished with four unanswered goals against rookie goalie Anders Lindback, who faced 18 shots over the final 20 minutes.
Dumont’s last goal before Sunday was Dec. 8 at Detroit, 17 games earlier. Erat missed nine contests with an upper body injury before he returned to the lineup Saturday and had not scored since Dec. 17.
“If you ask me who my first line is, I really can’t answer that,” coach Barry Trotz said following Saturday’s game. “Each night it’s a different first line.”
Early Sunday, Matt Halischuk was recalled from Milwaukee and Andreas Thuresson was reassigned to the Predators’ American Hockey League affiliate as the Predators continued to rotate through young forwards.
Thuresson played three games since being recalled on Jan. 8. He replaced Linus Klasen, who had three appearances and was inactive three times between his second recall of the season (Dec. 26) and his reassignment to Milwaukee the day before Thuresson arrived.
Halischuk had five points in his last eight games for Milwaukee and 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) in 29 total appearances with the Admirals. The 22-year-old right wing was acquired last June in the trade that sent former captain Jason Arnott to the New Jersey Devils.
Neither Klasen nor Thuresson registered a point during their respective stints with Nashville. Halischuk had no points and no shots in 9:47 of ice time against the Blackhawks.
The most productive Nashville forwards, in terms of goals at least, over the last nine have been Patric Hornqvist and Sergei Kostitsyn with five each. Nick Spaling, who scored his first career goal in his 50th game (Dec. 13 against the New York Islanders), has three in the past eight contests.
• Nashville finished Sunday’s game short a defenseman. Francis Bouillon sustained an upper body injury in the first period and did not return. He played just 2:16.
• The six goals allowed were a season-high and the most since an 8-5 loss at San Jose on March 11, 2010.
• Lindback has three losses in his last four appearances.