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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).”

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 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