Morning Skate Report: April 13 (Game 2)
Friday, 04.13.2012 / 2:31 PM
By Doug Brumley - Nashville Predators / 2012 Playoff Blog -- Conference Quarterfinals vs. Detroit
The big news from the Predators’ morning skate on Friday was that defenseman Hal Gill is once again a no-go for Nashville. The 6-foot-7 penalty-killing specialist missed Game 1 with a lower body injury. Game 2 between the Predators and Red Wings is 6:30pm CT tonight at Bridgestone Arena. The game will be televised locally on SportSouth—Comcast ch 1676 (HD) and 26 (SD)—and broadcast via radio on 102.5 The Game. Nashville holds a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
In his morning press conference, Predators head coach Barry Trotz wouldn’t say which defenseman would fill Gill’s spot. Jack Hillen was tapped for the role in Game 1, finishing a +1 in 8:20 of ice time in his NHL playoff debut. Trotz could opt for Ryan Ellis if he is looking for a bit more offense from the back end.
The Predators will aim to make fewer trips to the penalty box in Game 2, and will try to improve their special teams’ performance. The league’s most disciplined team during the regular season, Nashville was whistled for 10 penalties in Game 1 and gave up two power play goals while going scoreless in six chances with a manpower advantage.
The Predators are already quite familiar with their Central Division rival, but goaltender Pekka Rinne said Friday that a team learns a lot about an opponent over the course of a series. His takeaway from Game 1?
“They are never out of the game,” Rinne said. “You have to respect that team but not too much. You have to be aware of the situation at all times. Really strong team in the beginning of periods, at the end of the periods. Lot of experience. All those things. You can’t let down at any time, at any point of the game. You have to be aware when their top guys are on the ice because they are obviously really strong individuals who can change the momentum of the game in seconds.”
Immediately following Game 1 and again Friday morning, Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock claimed that his team let Rinne off the hook Wednesday by not crashing the net enough. Trotz, on the other hand, felt the Wings interfered too much in the goal crease—enough to disallow any potential goals that might have been scored as a result. For his part, Rinne knows he’ll see more of the same in Game 2.
“You expect you’re going to have bodies in front of you and you’re going to have people kind of interfering with you a little bit,” Rinne said. “I think you try to mentally prepare for it. Don’t get rattled by it. Just do your best finding the puck in whatever situation it is. That’s the biggest thing: Just try to find a hole where you can see the puck and be able to do your job.”
Red Wings center Darren Helm, who suffered a forearm laceration in Wednesday’s game and had surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, is out for the remainder of the playoffs. Babcock said Wednesday morning that he didn’t like the way his third and fourth lines matched up against Nashville’s with Helm out of the lineup. Nashville’s third and fourth lines proved to be the stars in Game 1, producing all three Predators goals.