Game 3 - Morning Skate
Wednesday, 05.02.2012 / 2:16 PM
By Doug Brumley - Nashville Predators / 2012 Playoff Blog -- Conference Semifinals vs. Phoenix
At his Wednesday morning press conference, Predators head coach Barry Trotz was still mum as to whom he would insert into the lineup in place of Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostistyn tonight in Game 3, but Trotz expressed confidence in his team’s depth.
“The guys that are out tonight—Andrei and Rad—they weren’t with us for 65 games or so, so the guys that are going in have been together,” Trotz said. “Guys have been—be it a Craig Smith, has been on a power play. We’ve had different people do that. Be it a Wilson, a Smith, a Yip, all those guys. So they’re going to be put in roles. They did it for 65 games. They’ll be fine tonight.”
The Predators’ power play has found a spark this series, scoring three times in the first two games of the series vs. Phoenix. Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn are typically members of the second unit; their absence will require some changes for Game 3. However, it has been the other power-play unit -- with Mike Fisher, Martin Erat and Patric Hornqvist -- that has scored two of the team's three power-play goals this series.
“Our one unit’s going to be the same and the other one might have a couple new guys but our depth is incredible up front,” Mike Fisher said after Tuesday practice. “We’ve got some great players that aren’t playing right now and they’re going to step in and do a good job for us and be ready.”
Playing a better overall defensive game has been the mantra over the past couple of days around the Predators locker room. That sentiment was echoed Wednesday by veteran defenseman Hal Gill, a voice of experience who has won a Stanley Cup before.
“We have to play better as a team,” Gill said. “Focus on our defense. Focus on the little things that have made us successful in the past. And it’s not a big secret. We have to go out there and do it whoever’s in the lineup.”
The team is looking forward to using the home crowd to propel it to a fast start, especially in a series where the Preds have yet to hold a lead.
“We have a good opportunity at home and we know we are hard to beat here,” Patric Hornqvist said.