Archive for March 7, 2012
One word was repeated when the Predators were asked about the significance of the team’s current three-game homestand: huge. Eight points back of first place St. Louis Blues, the Predators are only four points ahead of sixth place Chicago.
“It is huge. Everytime you are at home it is important, especially now with the playoff race coming down to the wire with teams being so close. These are big games before we head out on the road. We need to take advantage of playing at home,” forward Nick Spaling said.
Nashville dropped a 5-4 decision to Los Angeles on Tuesday night in front of a sold out Bridgestone Arena.
Colorado Avalanche 35-29-4
Nashville Predators 38-21-7
The Nashville Predators try to keep pace in the Western Conference standings on Thursday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Bridgestone Arena.
Coming off of a 5-4 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday night, Nashville looks to play better defense. “It’s an area we’ve got to clean up, obviously. We’re a team that prides itself on defense, and there was none of it tonight. Five goals. When is the last time we’ve given up five goals?” Captain Shea Weber asked after the loss on Tuesday.
While the Predators came out on the losing end against the Kings in a game that was clearly not their finest, Nashville was able to stay in the contest until the very end despite being outplayed. Patric Hornqvist also picked up his 19th and 20th goals to become Nashville’s first 20-goal scorer of the season.
As the Predators struggle, losing 2 of their last 3 games, the Avalanche are in the midst of a playoff push having won two in a row and are winners of 7 of their last 10 contests, including a 7-1 walloping of Minnesota on Tuesday.
Nashville has a 13-9-3 record on home-ice against the Avalanche and are 5-0-0 at Bridgestone Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign. Most recently the two teams met on January 12th. Colorado jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but the Predators managed to erase the deficit on goals from David Legwand and Sergei Kostitsyn to force overtime. Legwand would score his second goal of the game only 34 seconds into the extra time for the 3-2 Nashville win.
Head Coach Barry Trotz announced on Wednesday that there will be some roster changes for Thursday. Ryan Porth of Smashville 24/7 reports that Brandon Yip will be in the lineup on Thursday night when the Predators face his former team. Trotz also indicated that defenseman Kevin Klein will remain out of the lineup with an upper-body injury.
Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports that Matt Duchene will be out of the lineup on Thursday with an ankle injury sustained on Tuesday night. Mike Connolly will replace Duchene.
Semyon Varlamov will be in goal for the Avalanche.
Tickets to see the Nashville Predators are the hottest ticket in town. With less than 240 tickets remaining for the Colorado game as of 5 pm on Wednesday night, Thursday’s contest looks like it will be the 19th sellout of the season for the Predators. For fans waiting to get tickets to Saturday night’s game when the Predators host the Detroit Red Wings, take note that less than 140 tickets remained on Wednesday night. Nashville is set to tie the franchise record for most sellouts in a season that was set at 20 in 1999-2000.
The puck drops at Bridgestone Arena shortly after 7 pm CT.
On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators were edged 5-4 by the Los Angeles Kings. Patric Hornqvist, however, picked up two goals in a losing cause for the Predators bringing his yearly total to 20 goals on the season.
It is the third consecutive year that Hornqvist has scored at least 20 goals, making him the first player drafted by the Predators to accomplish that feat while playing for Nashville.
Head Coach Barry Trotz explains why Hornqvist is a consistent 20-goal scorer. “He is not afraid to go in those hard areas. That is where he is scoring goals these days. That is why he gets them consistently and that is why he is in that 20-goal range. You’re going to find Patric Hornqvist heading to the net, heading to the front – that blue paint – and he’ll battle for those loose pucks. There are no thrills with Patric. You know what you’re getting every night,” he said.