Nashville looks to get back to ‘Predator hockey’ in Game 3
The Nashville Predators host the Phoenix Coyotes for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Wednesday night at a special 8 pm CDT start time. The Predators find themselves down 0-2, and will attempt to get back into the series.
The lineup will be different for the Predators, and not only because Nashville is trying to shake things up after losing both games in the desert to start the semifinals.
With Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn being suspended for the game due to breaking a team rule, the Predators lineup will return nearly to what it looked like prior to the trade deadline, with the exception of the additions of Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad, a penalty-killing expert and a faceoff specialist respectively.
With the decision to sit the two late-season additions comes the opportunity for others to reclaim their lost spot in the lineup. Matt Halischuk, Jordin Tootoo and Craig Smith are the three candidates vying for the two lineup positions.
“I just try to work hard in practice and stay focused. You wait for your opportunity to play. I feel good. I’ll be ready to go, if I get that chance to go back in,” Halischuk said about the possibility of playing on Wednesday.
At practice, Halischuk skated on a line with Gaustad and Tootoo. Colin Wilson also rotated into that line.
The decision as to which players will take the place of the suspended forwards has yet to be announced, but one thing is clear—the Predators need to show that resiliency the team often spoke of during the regular season.
“We put ourselves in the hole,” Trotz said. “Number one, we need to get ourselves out of the hole. This team has lots of character and ambition, and I expect we will have our best game [Wednesday].”
The focus for Nashville will be a return to what the team calls “Predator hockey”.
“[We need to] go back to our team game. Let’s get back to ‘Predator hockey’. Let’s play that team game. Let’s be a little bit relentless, and make sure we are taking care of business on both sides of the puck,” Trotz explained.
During the first two games of the semifinal series, Nashville allowed 9 goals, the same amount of tallies the Red Wings scored against the Predators in five contests during the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
“I think we need to play a different style than we did in Game 1 and 2, period,” Nashville Captain Shea Weber said. “We weren’t ourselves. We need to get back to defense first. Our offense will piggyback off of it. We just need to take it to the next level, and we are looking forward to the chance to do that on [Wednesday].”