Morning Skate Report: Dec. 12

Saturday, 12.12.2009 / 12:30 PM CT / Preview
By Jena Smith  - NashvillePredators.com
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Morning Skate Report: Dec. 12
The Nashville Predators wrap up their four-game homestand tonight when they host division rival Detroit. The Predators lead this season’s series with the Wings 1-0, courtesy of a 3-1 home win on November 23.

The Predators will face a Detroit team who had been struck with injuries this season – defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Andreas Lilja and forwards Dan Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, and Jason Williams will all be out of the lineup tonight. While the Preds are aware of these absences on the ice they are not holding back anything in their play.

“I would be lying if I said we didn’t notice it but if we do all the things we’re suppose to do then it shouldn’t matter what the other team has,” Dave Scatchard stated this morning. “Obliviously those guys have fire power and if they are missing any of that then we need to take advantage.”

Head Coach for Nashville Barry Trotz is also looking to take advantage of the missing links in the Detroit team but knows it is still a team who can win. “Detroit has had a lot of injuries this year, but they know how to win and that’s why you never count the Red Wings out. They are still a good team; they are playing really sound defensively and they relay on that power play, it has been a big factor for them.”

“If you can get Detroit when they don’t have all their weapons, you want to take advantage of that. If they have them in (the lineup) or not you still have to win the game, that’s the bottom line.”

Beyond the normal Preds/Wings rivalry – and the emotion that brings from the players and fans – tonight’s game carries a significant impact on the Western Conference standings. Nashville currently sits seventh in the Western Conference with 38 points, just three points behind division leading (and conference No. 3 seed) Chicago, but also just three points ahead of Detroit, the No. 9 team in the conference standings. There are still many games to be played, but creating a cushion in the standings now helps come March and April.

“These games in the middle of December, January, February, they are what decide the playoff race.” Scatchard started to explain about the standings. “These games are absolutely huge. Any time you can get a little bit of a cushion it makes the other teams try to catch you a little bit more than they want to. It is defiantly easier to play when you’re ahead and when other teams are trying to catch you than when you’re trying to chase down everybody.”

Trotz made note of the closeness in the standing and stated there is not room for a break this season. Currently in the standings there are only five points that separate sixth and thirteenth place in the Conference; every point earned can help secure a place in the top eight.

“You don’t get a break; this year you’re not going to get a break. There isn’t a team that you can say we can ramp down our game and still get a win. You’re 30-odd games into the season and usually you have some separation but there is virtually no separation from 1 to 15 (in the conference standings).”

SCHEDULE
 

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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