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Morning Skate Report: Feb. 23 vs. St. Louis

Thursday, 02.23.2012 / 2:19 PM CT / News
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators
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Morning Skate Report: Feb. 23 vs. St. Louis


The Predators were back at work this morning after a day away from the rink Wednesday. The busy schedule -- combined with a bout of the flu bug running through the locker room -- merited the break, according to head coach Barry Trotz.

“There are guys in the [locker] room that have played 60-odd games plus preseason and all that,” Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You don’t need to be on the ice every day. It’s about being productive when you’re on the ice and recovering and healing when you’re not on. ... Right now the games are the most important things.”

And the players appreciate the coaching staff’s effort to manage the schedule.

“There’s a lot of hockey to be played and we’ve been going pretty hard lately,” said Preds forward Jerred Smithson. “Our schedule, it just seems like it’s every night or every other night. So rest is just as important as going out there and doing work. You know you’ve got to keep the batteries as charged as much as possible, especially this time of year. There are some bumps and bruises and the flu and whatnot going around. And every team goes through it. It’s huge just to get that one day where you can kind of get away from the rink, clear your head a little bit and get ready for a good stretch.”

Tonight the schedule brings the St. Louis Blues to Bridgestone Arena for a 7:00 p.m. game. Nashville holds a commanding 4-0 lead in the season series thus far, but the Blues hold a three-point lead over fifth-place Nashville in the Western Conference standings. Blues/Preds games are routinely close: Sixteen of the teams’ last 25 meetings have been decided by one goal.

“When we play them it’s always a battle,” Predators forward Colin Wilson said. “We’re two teams who rely on our aggressiveness and our style of play. It’s [about] going hard and nobody takes shifts off. It always turns into a battle against them. We both realize we’re close in the playoff spots, so this game’s huge. It turns into a playoff game.”

“We’re going to have to go out there and play a physical style of game and establish our forecheck,” Smithson said. “[We] can’t go out there thinking its just going to be run-and-gun. We’re going to have to check hard, we’re going to have to stay disciplined—they’ve got a dangerous power play.”

Forward Patric Hornqvist, who has missed four games with an upper-body injury, remains out for tonight. “Saturday would be the earliest,” Trotz said. The same goes for Brian McGrattan, who has also missed seven games with an upper-body injury.

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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