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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 - 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