Preds Stay Positive In The Face of Adversity

Saturday, 05.5.2012 / 10:56 AM CT / Nashville Predators Playoffs Coverage
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Preds Stay Positive In The Face of Adversity

By Mark McGee, NashvillePredators.com

One of the reasons defenseman Hal Gill was acquired by the Nashville Predators is his playoff experience.

But even he admits that it is hard to come up with words of motivation as the Predators face a 3-1 deficit after Friday night’s 1-0 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in the semifinals of the Western Conference Stanley Cup playoffs.

He finds a simple approach might be best.

“There is no self-pity,” Gill said. “There is no moping around. You just back out and play and find a way to get a win. That is all you can concern yourself with.

“When you win you get that momentum back and see what happens after that. You are focused on that next game. We have to worry about getting one win and finding a way to get it.”

A loss by the Predators ends the series and their season. The Predators have to be driven by that reality.

“You either have it or you don’t,” Gill said. “You go out there and give it everything you’ve got because if it doesn’t work out you don’t have tomorrow. You have to play your heart out.

“It’s frustrating to give up one goal in two games and get a split. But it’s hockey. There is not much you can do about it. We have to dig and find a way to get more (goals). That’s the fun part of the game.”

This is familiar territory for the Predators. Last season they returned to Vancouver after being down 3-1 and came away with a victory before losing the semifinal series 4-2. It was the first time the franchise had ever won a potential elimination game; this year they plan on expanding what they learned last playoffs by three games.

Team captain Shea Weber knows the Predators will have to play at an even higher level Monday night in Phoenix in order to return the series to Nashville for game six at Bridgestone Arena Wednesday night.

Offensively, he would like to see more grit and fewer attempts at pretty plays in order to beat Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith.

“Maybe, we’re trying to make the perfect shot and we just have to get pucks on net and get there for second opportunities,” Weber said. “We have to find ways to get our chances in the net.”

“You talk about it in the playoffs all the time. Teams just keep getting better and better. That’s your goal, to be the best by the end of the year. We just have to take it to another step.”

Defenseman Ryan Suter is aware of what the Predators did last season and he is confident the team can win at Phoenix and eventually take the series.

“If you look at it big picture, it’s a lot of work,” Suter said. “But if we take it one game at a time, it’s doable.

“It’s do or die. We have to go out and leave it all up there and then go out for the next game.”

Predators coach Barry Trotz can’t predict the future, but he knows that being down 3-1 is much better than a 3-0 deficit.

“Plain and simple, we’ve got to win a hockey game,” Trotz said. “That focus can’t go any farther than that – winning a hockey game, and it’s going to have to be in Phoenix.

“I know when you’re down in a series 3-0, the numbers don’t look good. At 3-1 a number of teams have come back – the numbers are much better than 3-0.”

Despite the situation, Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne chooses to be realistic instead of negative.

“Everybody knows what the situation is over here,” Rinne said. “We have to stay positive.

“We won three games in a row before. It starts in Phoenix on Monday. If we want to keep playing we have to win, and that’s the bottom line.”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

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