When Patric Hornqvist went down with a knee injury in late January, Colin Wilson stepped up.
So when Hornqvist went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury early in the second period of the Nashville Predators’ 6-0 victory over Edmonton on Friday, there seemed little reason to worry. When Wilson was injured the next night, the situation suddenly became a bit more dire.
Now the Predators enter the week, which includes three road games in four days, beginning Tuesday at Dallas (7 p.m., Fox Sports-Tennessee), faced with the prospect that their leading scorer this season, Wilson, and their top goal scorer in two of the previous three seasons, Hornqvist, are out of the lineup and could be for some time.
“We’ll see where they are at on Monday,” coach Barry Trotz said following Saturday’s shootout loss to Minnesota. “… It’s disappointing. They’re playing hard and things happen. It’s a physical game and we’ll have to go through it. … We just have to do it as a group.”
Before he was injured for the second time, Hornqvist gave the Predators a 1-0 lead when he scored on the power play 6:07 into the contest. It turned out to be the game-winner and gave him the team lead in power play goals (three) outright.
Wilson had one of the assists on that goal and — perhaps predictably — continued to produce after Hornqvist went off. He finished the game with a career-high four points (two goals, two assists) and raised his team-leading total for the season to 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists).
The 2008 first-round draft pick had just one point (a goal) through the first five contests of the season. He got going not long after Hornqvist sustained a knee injury Jan. 26 at Anaheim, which caused him to miss 10 games. Over that span Wilson scored three goals and had six assists.
“I think the guys tend to dig in usually, especially this group,” captain Shea Weber said. “We have got a lot of character guys in here. Like in the past, it gives guys a chance to play a more expanded role and guys are going to get more of an opportunity now.
“It obviously hurts. [Wilson is] our leading scorer this year. He’s been playing great for us.”
Before the Edmonton game — and Hornqvist’s latest health issue — Wilson managed just one point (an assist) in six outings.
Now, though, he won’t have the opportunity to do it all again.
“It’s obviously a little big, but we have guys that will step up,” David Legwand, who has a goal in each of the last two games, said. “We have had that all year long and throughout the 15 years here. I think everyone stepped up when guys have gone out.”
Wilson was hurt when he went to the ice after being checked on his opening shift of the second period. He fell to the ice with his arms extended, and as he was helped to the bench it appeared he favored his left wrist and/or forearm.
The Predators rarely provide specific injury information.
“We lost a couple guys? Big deal. Find a way to win,” Trotz said. “… We’re getting some bodies that are nicked up. We said from Day One we were going to be tested by our depth. Now we’re going to be tested even more.”