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Morning Skate Report: Dec. 10

Thursday, 12.10.2009 / 12:22 PM CT / Preview
By Jena Smith  - NashvillePredators.com
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Morning Skate Report: Dec. 10
Division rivals the Columbus Blue Jackets are in town and the Nashville Predators are looking to place a larger separation between the teams in the standings. The Preds are currently three points ahead of the Jackets; a division team which will be seen three times in the month of December.

“We have built a rivalry with this Columbus team. It is going to be an exciting game, both teams are hard working teams,” goaltender Pekka Rinne said after morning skate. “It adds a little bit extra to the game. Obviously it’s a team we want to beat every single time, that’s probably the thing that drives the team.”

Not only is there a strong desire to win in a rivalry game, the closeness in the standings is also in the back of the players’minds. “The standings are so close; there are such few point differences, so every single game, especially the division games like this are huge,” Rinne added.

A more confidant Patric Hornqvist -- fresh off his team-leading third game-winning goal on Tuesday night -- knows the team must come out hard and fast in order to pick up the points in the standings. “It is always going to be a tough game against Columbus, a division rival. So we need to come out hard and have a good quick start, manage the puck well, and if we do that we will get the two points. The division games are always the most intense games, like a playoff game.”

Hornqvist scored his first goal after a 12 game drought Tuesday against Vancouver. Contributing to the score sheet helped Hornqvist regain some confidence and he is looking forward to posting up in front of the net for another one tonight.

While there is a definite rivalry between teams, Nashville has won 12 consecutive home games against Columbus dating back to November 18, 2006, a stat the Preds coaching staff quickly shrugs aside.

“That doesn’t mean anything tonight," Head Coach Barry Trotz said. "I didn’t even know that. I just look at Columbus as a rival and we have to find a way to beat them tonight that’s plain and simple. History is history, the present is here today so what happens tonight is important not what happened in the past.”

What to Look For:
The coaches juggled around some line combinations prior to Tuesday's win vs. Vancouver, including tweaking the Arnott line with Martin Erat joining Jason Arnott and Steve Sullivan. Erat managed to notch his second career hat trick in a Nashville 4-2 win.

Coach Trotz will likely open the game with the trio together, but wouldn't commit beyond that. “It might be temporary, it might be permanent. We will move him around as we always do. That first game putting them together was more positives than negatives, that’s for sure.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
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 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Wilson 14 5 8 8 13
R. Josi 14 1 8 -6 9
R. Johansen 14 4 4 0 8
J. Neal 14 4 4 1 8
M. Fisher 14 5 2 -1 7
M. Ekholm 14 3 4 2 7
S. Weber 14 3 4 -7 7
R. Ellis 14 0 6 0 6
F. Forsberg 14 2 2 -11 4
M. Salomaki 14 1 1 2 2
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 7 7 0 .906 2.63
C. Hutton 0 0 0 .667 3.00