NHL.com: Trotz believes his club's resiliency will win out

Monday, 04.26.2010 / 3:14 PM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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NHL.com: Trotz believes his club\'s resiliency will win out
NASHVILLE -- With his team landing at the wrong end of an epic playoff comeback, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz is attempting a little reverse psychology with his group as it prepares for Game 6 Monday (9 p.m. ET, VERSUS, TSN) at Bridgestone Arena.

Trotz said that after allowing the tying, shorthanded goal with 13.6 seconds left in regulation, failing to score on a five-minute power play and then losing in overtime, 5-4, to fall down 3-2 in the Western Conference Quarterfinal series with the Chicago Blackhawks, that the Predators were probably at "about the lowest place you can think of (emotionally)."

"We were at ground zero, if you want," he said.

However, Trotz said the 2009-10 Predators are a resilient group, so he looks at Game 6 as "a great opportunity."

"We're not blaming anybody," he said. "We'll blame ourselves. We'll just go forward. Tonight's about having your backs against the wall. It's one game. …We're not talking about the 'what if's.' No matter what, you'll see the best the Nashville Predators have to offer. That's the strength of our hockey team. We have a great bounce-back ability.

"We've done it all year. Talk about having to bounce back from something, that's a pretty good opportunity. I don't think you're going to find too many better than that. So we're looking at this as a great opportunity, to … not set the record straight, but to really re-establish ourselves if we can. You're going to see our best. And if we get beat at our best, we'll have no regrets."

Trotz said he sees all of the right signs from his team, but one might think that right wing Martin Erat, the team's second-leading goal-scorer who also ranked second in points per game, might be a special cause for concern.

Trotz said he spoke to Erat, who scored twice in the third period in Game 5 to put Nashville ahead but then made the glaring turnover that allowed Chicago to tie the game in the waning seconds of the same period.

"Yeah, I talked to Marty," Trotz said. "I'll tell you this about Martin Erat -- there's probably not a player who cares more about the Nashville Predators and about the outcomes of the games and all those types of things than Marty. It was a … as I said, he'd like to have that decision back, but we can't."

Said Erat: "I just tried to pass it to someone around the net and when I tried to pass it I got hit there and it just went from the net. It happened -- we can't focus on that. We have to focus on this game."

That the tying goal, by Hawks forward Patrick Kane, came shorthanded only served to underscore how bad Nashville's power play has been in the series. Still in search of their first man-advantage goal, Trotz said the Predators will attempt some changes.

"We've got a plan of doing a couple of things different," he said. "We won't go into it. We got stubborn in our train of thought, if you will. We got a little frustrated in forcing things that aren't there."

One possibility could be how Nashville uses defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, who played five minutes on the power play in Game 5. Playing his first game of the series in Game 5, Grebeshkov earned assists on both of Nashville's third-period goals with skillful passing.

Trotz had talked in the days leading up to Grebeshkov's insertion into the lineup that the comfort level had to run both ways -- the coaching staff trusting Grebeshkov, and the defenseman feeling comfortable with Nashville's system. Grebeshkov was acquired from Edmonton near the trade deadline and played only four games with the Predators before getting hurt.

Game 5 was his first game back -- as well as his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut -- and Grebeshkov admitted to being nervous.

"I won't lie, a few more games would help me probably," he said. "But at the same time, yeah, I guess, those few extra days helped me in that perspective."

The Predators don't have a few more games. They never have won a playoff elimination game, and to add insult to injury, each of their four previous appearances in the postseason, they have been eliminated at home.

"There's a lot of guys in this room who have been through this before and it seems like it's been on home ice every time," said defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who has played in every playoff game Nashville ever has played. "Being through it four times myself, it's a huge motivating factor to not let this happen tonight. It's a terrible feeling to lose at home and we don't want that to happen here."

Author: John Manasso | NHL.com Correspondent





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


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
P. Rinne 34 21 10 .908 2.48
C. Hutton 7 5 4 .918 2.33