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Morning Skate Report: March 31

Saturday, 03.31.2012 / 3:08 PM CT / News
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Morning Skate Report: March 31
There was plenty of elbow room on the ice during Saturday’s morning skate for the Predators. Only players who were not in the Preds’ lineup versus Detroit Friday night were required to lace up, leading one to believe that head coach Barry Trotz may very well go with the same lineup at home against Chicago Saturday.

Supporting that theory is the fact that Trotz told gathered media Saturday morning that he’s more interested in steadying the lineup than tinkering with it.

“I think it’s starting to fall into place a little bit,” Trotz said. “I’m not going to do a lot of tinkering unless it’s called for in terms of injuries or poor play.”

The head coach believes the team’s close to having a set lineup, with the first three lines looking pretty established and the fourth line varying between a checking role and a mix of specialists—“be it a penalty killer, maybe an energy guy, maybe a face-off guy.” Getting three important players back from injury Friday night in Detroit was key as well.

“I was very happy with [defenseman Roman Josi],” Trotz said, reflecting on Friday’s 4-1 road win. “[Jordin Tootoo] was instrumental in the first goal. The guys came in and did a really good job after being out of the lineup. I thought [Martin Erat] had a little bit of a slow start and then he got going. I thought he was pretty good after that.”

Josi, who missed nine games with an upper-body injury, said Saturday morning that’s he’s glad to be back.

“I’m feeling great,” the 6-foot-2 Swiss blueliner said. “It’s great to be back. You don’t want to watch games, you want to be playing. I felt good yesterday.”

He was also among those pleased with how the team performed Friday in Detroit. “[The Red Wings] had some chances and [goaltender Pekka Rinne] was great all night,” Josi said. “But I think we played pretty good defensively and our forwards forechecked them really hard and made it hard for them.”

Tonight’s opponent, the Chicago Blackhawks, likely has last Sunday’s 6-1 defeat at the hands of the Predators fresh on its mind.

“They’re probably going to be mad about that tonight and try to come back from that loss,” Josi said. “They have a great team. They’ve got some great talent up front. We’ve just got to make sure we play the same way as yesterday. Forecheck them hard and don’t give them any time.”

Chicago has gone 7-1-2 over its last ten games but remains without All-Stars Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. Toews, the team’s captain, has yet to return from an upper-body injury that has kept him out of 18 games. Keith will serve the fourth game of his five-game suspension for elbowing Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin on March 21.

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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