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Morning Skate Report: Dec. 2

Wednesday, 12.2.2009 / 12:08 PM CT / Preview
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Morning Skate Report: Dec. 2
The Nashville Predators are set to play the Minnesota Wild tonight as the start of a two game road trip. Nashville has played eight of their last nine games at home and is looking to the road to get back to “Predators hockey.”

“We kind of took a step back (Monday) night and didn’t really play a great game. We have to just go out on the road; it will be good for us to get away and get back to playing simple hockey and working hard,” forward Jerred Smithson stated. “Nothing beats playing home games but it’s nice to get out on the road and just worry about hockey, no distractions.”

Coach Trotz also feels that a short road trip may be needed for the team. “We have been at home quite a bit here, sometimes you can go a little bit stale too and I think going on the road might be good for us right now.”

It also helps that the Preds have already picked up wins against both opponents this season – at 4-3 win at Minnesota on October 28 and a 2-0 home win over Chicago on October 29, the most-recent of the three contests between the Preds and Hawks this season.

Head Coach Barry Trotz feels the contest between Nashville and Minnesota will be of similar style games, both relying on team structure. However when the team heads to Chicago for play on Friday coach feels his they will be up against a team with offensive fire power and an active defense.

“It will be varying degrees of styles we will have to play. In this League, every night there is a different animal you have to try to slay; you have to make your adjustments. You still want to play within your foundation of your own game and try to overwhelm them with your game, but you still have to adjust a little bit to take away some of their strengths and exploit some their weakness.”

Familiar Face
While tonight’s match up with the Wild is just the second of four series meetings between the teams this season, however goalies Pekka Rinne and Niklas Backstrom (not to be confused with Washington Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom) are quite familiar with each other. Both netminders were teammates back in Finland with Karpat (click here for more on their time in Finland), and both are strong candidates for the 2010 Finnish Olympic team.

“I think it is pretty special coming from the same team in Finland,” Rinne stated speaking of his relationship with Backstrom. “Actually from that team we have four or five players in the NHL right now, so we had a really good team back home; I’m pretty fortunate to have played with those guys.”

While Rinne knows Backstrom’s style of play, he doesn’t feel he will be able to give his current teammates many inside hints. “He’s a good goalie. I think at this level you can’t just point out one thing, so it’s really hard because he is such a good goalie.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 33 31 1 64
R. Josi 81 14 47 -3 61
J. Neal 82 31 27 27 58
S. Weber 78 20 31 -7 51
M. Ribeiro 81 7 43 11 50
C. Smith 82 21 16 4 37
M. Ekholm 82 8 27 14 35
R. Johansen 42 8 26 10 34
R. Ellis 79 10 22 13 32
C. Jarnkrok 81 16 14 1 30
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33