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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
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.

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 56 36 16 4 158 128 76
2 DAL 53 33 15 5 170 142 71
3 STL 55 30 17 8 132 129 68
4 LAK 51 31 17 3 135 117 65
5 SJS 51 27 20 4 147 138 58
6 NSH 53 25 20 8 136 139 58
7 COL 55 27 24 4 148 152 58
8 ANA 50 25 18 7 111 115 57
9 MIN 52 23 20 9 127 126 55
10 ARI 52 24 22 6 138 161 54
11 VAN 52 20 20 12 120 142 52
12 CGY 51 23 25 3 134 148 49
13 WPG 52 23 26 3 136 150 49
14 EDM 54 21 28 5 132 164 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 53 10 27 -2 37
S. Weber 53 14 21 -4 35
F. Forsberg 53 15 18 -6 33
M. Ribeiro 53 6 27 3 33
J. Neal 53 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 53 6 16 3 22
R. Ellis 52 6 15 2 21
C. Smith 53 11 6 -1 17
C. Jarnkrok 52 9 7 0 16
C. Wilson 36 4 12 0 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 17 7 .904 2.50
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36