Morning Skate Report: April 11 (Game 1)

Wednesday, 04.11.2012 / 3:06 PM

The Nashville Predators had an optional morning skate Wednesday, just hours before the puck drops on their Western Conference Quarterfinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. Game time is 7 p.m. CT at Bridgestone Arena. The game will be televised on SportSouth in the Nashville area (Comcast Nashville channel 1676 (HD) and 26 (SD)).

Defenseman Hal Gill, who missed Monday and Tuesday’s practices with a lower body injury, was not among those on the ice Wednesday. Trotz confirmed at his post-skate press conference that Gill will be a game-time decision.

Regarding Gill’s possible absence from the lineup for Game 1, captain Shea Weber said, “We’ve got a lot of depth. I think we’ve talked about that. We’ve got guys that can step up and guys that have played well for us this year. So it’s no big deal if he can’t go, and we’ll be ready.”

Speaking of ready, players were even more anxious to get going than they were Tuesday. “Obviously it’s that time of year we’ve been waiting for,” Nick Spaling said. “It’s exciting. I’m sure there’s a little bit of nerves and that comes with it. It’s a game day, so now it’s time to focus in and it’s here. It’s time to be ready to go.”

“I think everyone’s prepared,” said Craig Smith, one of four Predators rookies. “We’re kind of composed right now and ready to jump into the game and let it all out. I think everyone’s got a lot bottled up right now. We’ve just got to manage that.”

Perhaps engaging in some head games, Detroit head coach Mike Babcock told media during his morning skate press conference Wednesday that he was glad his team was starting on the road, that it would allow the Red Wings to play the game simply, pressure the home team and watch as your opponent tightens up.

Predators forward Smith, for one, likes starting the series at Bridgestone Arena. “You’re somewhere where you’re familiar, and you’ve got a lot of fan buildup to give you some momentum right off the bat, which is going to be huge in this series,” he said.

Babcock also said forward Darren Helm will return to the Red Wings’ lineup for Game 1. Helm has missed almost a month with a sprained MCL.

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STANDINGS

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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