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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
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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.”

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
F. Forsberg 82 26 37 15 63
M. Ribeiro 82 15 47 11 62
R. Josi 81 15 40 15 55
S. Weber 78 15 30 15 45
C. Smith 82 23 21 11 44
C. Wilson 77 20 22 19 42
M. Fisher 59 19 20 4 39
J. Neal 67 23 14 12 37
R. Ellis 58 9 18 8 27
S. Jones 82 8 19 3 27
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 41 17 6 .923 2.18
C. Hutton 6 7 4 .902 2.61