Players Respond to Early Season Schedule Quirks

Wednesday, 10.12.2011 / 7:39 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Players Respond to Early Season Schedule Quirks
It seems more like weeks – not days – since the Nashville Predators played a regular season game.

In reality, when the puck drops Thursday for the Predators’ home opener against Phoenix at Bridgestone Arena, only five days will have passed since Nashville’s win at St. Louis. But in hockey time, that’s forever.

There are positives and negatives when a layoff that long takes places in the NHL. It can hurt momentum when a team is playing well (Nashville is 2-0-0 after coming off back-to-back road victories against division foes Columbus and St. Louis). On the positive side, the break can allow for some rest and healing after such a grueling start.

The Predators are going with the latter.

“We feel good about ourselves after those first two games,” Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne said. “We want it to carry over to the next game. There has been a little bit of a flu bug going around and it has allowed us to get healthy. That’s been a good thing. We’re also getting extra work. We’re improving on things that we didn’t do very well in the first two games. I think those are the positives.”

For most of the Predators players, the layoff has them amped up even more to get back to playing games.

“Everybody is ready to rock now,” Predators forward Patric Hornqvist said. “We’re all looking forward to the game. When there are a couple of days between games, you have to make sure you stay in game shape. But I feel like everybody is going to be jumping around. The coaches are going to come up with a good game plan.”

As the schedule progresses, so will the frequency of games. Consider, in the first 15 days of October, the Predators will have played four games. In the final 16 days of October, Nashville will play eight games.

“We’re rested up for that and that’s exactly what we want,” Hornqvist said. “We’re ready to play every other night. Everyone is healthy and ready to have a good stretch here.”

After playing the next two games at home, the Predators will head out on a three-day, Canadian road trip. Then they return to Nashville to play three home games in five days.

As with most NHL clubs, the schedules offers some daunting stretches, and the Predators will experience at least three of them in the first month. But the players and coaching staff are relying on the confines of Bridgestone Arena to help make it work to their advantage.

“Our fans are so boisterous,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “There’s good energy in the building and it’s going to be fun (on Thursday). It will bring back some good memories, but we’re starting new memories. That’s the key. We have to get our home-ice dominance again. We’ve been pretty good at home in the last seven years.”

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
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