Travel Day: Getting Ready For Games 5 & 6

Thursday, 04.21.2011 / 7:08 PM
By Tom Callahan - Nashville Predators / Tom Callahan's Playoff Blog
As we head back to Anaheim with the series tied at two, Nashville knows that it's Game Four effort was the worst of the young series. Nothing seemed to go right for the Preds, which included goaltending, defense, and forward play. Sure that seems like an awful lot to go wrong, but the series is now a best of three that resumes Friday night.

Erat Update
Just a little side note, didn't really fit in with the rest of the blog, so I'm throwing it out here on the side. Martin Erat did not make the trip out West with the team; he was injured on Jarkko Ruutu's hit in the second period last night. Coach didn't tip his hand during practice, but would expect either J-P Dumont or Colin Wilson to fill Erat's roster spot.
I do take some comfort from the fact that the Preds have had to fight back from worse. Over the course of the year injuries and losing streaks have beset this team and yet they found ways to overcome it all and make the playoffs with a great stretch of hockey through March and April. It wasn't much before that run began that you could hear the grumbling already from some outlets that the Preds were not going to make it this year.

After Game Three, Anaheim rallied off scathing comments from Teemu Selanne and a day away from the rink for a pool tournament. It seemed to do them a world of good for getting the house back in order mentally. Perhaps the Preds need to do the same, cleaning the house mentally to get things in order for Friday night. Nashville's young leadership corps will be tested in this series, and the veterans on the team must also step up and shoulder the responsibility as well. Face it, the Preds needs that kick in the pants that will have them come out firing in Game Five. Then they need that second, more important kick that keeps the intensity up for all 60 minutes.

To that end I think whatever the lineup is for Nashville has to be committed from the opening puck drop. The Preds must play physical but not take penalties that result from a lack of moving one's feet: hooking, holding, tripping and interference. Any more than four power plays against could spell disaster. And speaking of moving your feet, doing that in the offensive zone will generate more chances for nashville's man advantage, which will help wear down a Ducks team that will have a boost from the return of Bobby Ryan to the lineup.

Nashville hasn't been bad in the series thus far offensively. But they absolutely must clamp down on D now. The pressure is on Pekka Rinne and company to deliver the best game of the series so far in order for the Preds to push the Ducks to the brink of elimination. If the energy level is high right away, the Preds will far well. If they start flat, it might turn into a long night.

Make sure you're ready on Friday, and we'll see you back in Smashville for Game Six on Sunday! Until next time, keep your stick on the ice.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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