For his part, Stastny has five points in his first four games with the Jets, who play the third game of a six-game road trip in Newark on Thursday.
Winnipeg could be without one of its key offensive talents against the Devils, though. Mark Scheifele, who has 51 points in 50 games, suffered an upper-body injury against the Rangers and missed the last half of the game. There was no update on his condition Wednesday.
Mathew Barzal is New York’s top scorer during the skid with seven points (two goals, five assists). The 16th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft leads all rookies with 69 points (18 goals, 51 assists) — 15 more than the Canucks’ Brock Boeser, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a back injury.
New York has scored 16 goals during its skid but keeping the puck out of the net is a bigger problem. Halak is 0-4-2 with a 3.67 GAA and .870 save percentage with Christopher Gibson accounting for the other defeat in his season debut last Saturday.
Halak has yielded 12 goals while recording one win in his last four starts versus the Oilers.
While the Lightning and Predators are well stacked, in years past it hasn’t paid to be the No. 1 seed. In fact, the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks are the last team to win their conference and reach the Cup Final.
There are a few possible explanations for the struggles of top seeds. There is a high degree of luck involved in a seven-game series. Sometimes injuries play a role. Teams can also be better than their overall record indicates, especially following deadline deals. But most often, it’s matchups that dictate whether a team moves on.
So will we see the Predators and Lightning buck the trend? Which teams could give them the toughest time? Let’s have a look.
While Laine was already amid a solid season, he has really taken off after veteran Paul Stastny arrived from St. Louis at the trade deadline. Since forming a line with Stastny and Nik Ehlers, Laine has three straight multiple-goal efforts while increasing his consecutive games point streak to nine, as well.