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Resilient Preds Focus On Saturday's Game

Friday, 10.14.2011 / 2:57 PM CT / Features
By Bryan Mullen
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Resilient Preds Focus On Saturday\'s Game
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Craig Smith sat in his bed on Thursday night. His mind was racing.

The Predators rookie forward had just experienced his first NHL loss. The Phoenix Coyotes had come into Bridgestone Arena and won 5-2 in Nashville’s home opener.

“I went home and was sitting in bed thinking, ‘I wish I could change what happened,’ ” Smith said. “I want to play as soon as possible. If we had a game (Friday) morning, I would have been really happy.”

That reaction is exactly what the more experienced Predators players like to see.

Nashville has long been known as a team that bounces back quickly, a club with the ability to shelf a bad performance and perform at a high level in the next game. The Predators will have the chance on Saturday when they host New Jersey at 7 p.m. at Bridgestone Arena.

“Ever since I’ve been here, the Predators organization has been a resilient group,” Captain Shea Weber said. “We have to get back to playing the way that we play. We have to make it harder for other teams to come into our building.”

While the more experienced Predators know how to make quick fixes and look forward, it can be a tougher proposition for the players with little NHL experience.

“I think in general, for a young guy, it’s tough,” Weber said. “I remember my first couple of years, I was really hard on myself and it was tough. It wasn’t until that next game and you started doing some things well that you got your confidence back. I think we have enough guys in here with experience that can help those guys move past it.”

Smith isn’t one of them. He admitted to stewing over the loss for a few hours, then was excited to get back to practice on Friday.

That resiliency is seemingly always a part of a Predators player’s DNA, regardless of experience. Last regular season, Nashville won 17 games coming off a loss.

They will have their first chance to do it this season on Saturday against the Devils. And unlike a five-day layoff like they had between the St. Louis win and the Phoenix loss, this time there is a quick turnaround, something the players embrace.

“We can get a chance right away to bounce back, get back on track and get back to the way we want to be playing,” Predators forward Nick Spaling said.

Injury update: Coach Barry Trotz said forward Martin Erat (upper-body) is out for Saturday. Forward Patric Hornqvist (lower-body) will test out his injury on Saturday morning and a decision will be made from there, Trotz said. Defenseman Francis Bouillon (upper-body) is getting closer, Trotz said, and forward Mike Fisher (upper-body) is day-to-day, according to Trotz.

Plaza Party: The Preds will be hosting a Plaza Party prior to tomorrow's game against the New Jersey Devils; festivities start at 4:30 on the Bridgestone Arena Plaza, featuring live music, street hockey games, face painting, and more. As of Lunch time on Friday, less than 1000 tickets remained for Saturday night's game (click here to buy tickets now); reminder that all fans in attendance at Saturday's game will receive a 2011-12 season schedule magnet  courtesy of O'Charley's.

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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