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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
 

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PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36