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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 5:47 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Preds preparing for potential franchise first

Before Game 6, Trotz was asked how to prepare his players to clinch the franchise's first ever trip to the second round. (This is the first time the Preds have had an opponent in an elimination game.)

"We've never been here," said Trotz, Nashville's only coach since it arrived in the League in 1998. "You have to live in the moment. This is a new situation…. Every group is a new canvas and you start over again.

"There are good and bad experiences you have to go through. The bad ones make you more resilient, the positive ones you draw from."

Nashville has been resilient in this series, helping to establish a series of franchise firsts. The Predators rallied from a goal down in the final minute of regulation in Game 5, pulled their goalie and tied the score and then won in overtime. In Game 3, they earned a power play in the final minutes of regulation to help them protect a one-goal lead, as they won 4-3. Last year, they lost a game to Chicago in the first-round in a similar situation.

Friday represented numerous organizational firsts for Nashville: The first time it won a Game 5, won an overtime playoff game and recorded two road playoff wins in the same series (or season). In fact, Game 1's victory was only Nashville's second road playoff victory in six trips to the postseason.

Asked how the mood in the room was on Sunday afternoon, Trotz said he had yet to check. After completing his talk, he popped in and then came back out to indicate that the mood was light.

Earlier, he said his message to the players was simple.

"Play to win," he said. "Don't sit back. This is a great opportunity. Shifty by shift. Get the job done."
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Posted On Sunday, 04.24.2011 / 5:30 PM

By John Manasso -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Ryan still getting accolades for goal

After setting the Twittersphere ablaze around midnight on Friday night in Game 5 with his goal for the ages, Ducks forward Bobby Ryan was still reveling in the attention he was receiving when he spoke to reporters on Saturday.

To recap: Ryan blocked a shot by Nashville's David Legwand in the third period, earned possession of the puck in the neutral zone, faked around Legwand once, causing Legwand to lose his stick, then stickhandled again around Legwand, as Legwand missed with a body check.; with Nashville's All-Star defenseman Shea Weber in pursuit from behind, Ryan went from forehand to backhand, roofing a shot over Preds goalie Pekka Rinne's blocker.

Some called it Mario Lemieux circa the '80s. Some called it the best goal they have ever seen.

"It has been pretty cool," Ryan said. "I didn't talk to too many people last night, but getting off the plane today I had about 40 text messages. It's a cool feeling. Obviously, when I look back on all of them, it's a moot point when you go on to lose the game, but I'll remember it, that's for sure."

Ryan was asked if the goal made the clips that Ducks coach Randy Carlyle showed the team in preparation for Game 6.

"We haven't seen anything yet," he said. "It won't make the cut, there will be a lot of different clips in there, but I don't think that will be one of them."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 7:05 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Sullivan eased in

Steve Sullivan isn't quite used to playing a limited role, particularly in the playoffs.

But the veteran had groin surgery in March and missed all but two of the team's final 22 games, so he's happy just to be in the lineup even if it's on the fourth line.

"These guys have gone to battle the last two months and gotten into the playoffs," Sullivan said.

"For me to think I'm just going to step in and try to make a difference - we got to think of a winning hockey club. It's not about trying to get me back in the lineup. Every game I can play, every extra minute I can play is a bonus right way."

Trotz said easing Sullivan back slowly is the right step.

"Sully's been in this position in the past," Trotz said.  "We ramped him up into a real high role and for the most part, he struggled in that role, because it's hard to go from 0 to 60 when you've been out a long time. From experience, we said, ‘Hey, we're not going to ramp him up there. We're just going to put him in a little lesser role and then if he can contribute from there, we'll build from there.'

Sullivan made the most of his 6:15 minutes of ice time as he scored Nashville's second goal in a 4-1 victory.

It was only his second goal in his past 13 playoff games.

"It felt great. It really did," he said ."It really felt to be able to make a contribution. (Trotz) had a hard time with the decision of putting me in there, and hopefully it was worth it."
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Posted On Thursday, 04.14.2011 / 6:57 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Trotz cites growing pains in sitting Wilson

It seems odd for a player to play all 82 regular season games and then get scratched for the first game of the playoffs, but Nashville coach Barry Trotz didn't think Colin Wilson earned the right to play in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

"He didn't do anything wrong," Trotz said Thursday. "He just didn't do enough things right. It's a privilege to play in the playoffs. It's a privilege to play in the National Hockey League. It's a privilege to have one of the 12 spots as a forward on our hockey team."

Trotz instead gave a spot to rookie Blake Geoffrion, opting not use Wilson, a 16-goal scorer this season.

Trotz noted that Wilson, the seventh pick in the 2008 draft, wasn't happy about the move and he likened it to defenseman Ryan Suter having similar growing pains earlier in his career.

"He'll start to understand that it is a privilege to play," Trotz said. "There is a certain level you have to play at … it's not that Colin's not a mature person. He's still a young guy. He's been a top pick. He's played a high level at every level that he's played at and been a very prominent player. All of a sudden he's not that prominent player, and that's hard to deal with for a young guy."
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Posted On Wednesday, 04.13.2011 / 4:33 PM

By Curtis Zupke -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2011 WCQF: Anaheim-Nashville Live Blog

Preds coach Trotz says Sullivan, Erat ready

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Nashville will have nearly all its key offensive players available when it opens its first-round playoff series against Anaheim on Wednesday night at Honda Center.

Predators coach Barry Trotz said Steve Sullivan and Martin Erat are good to go after they sat out the last regular-season game or two with injuries.

"Basically all our forwards are ready to go," Trotz said. "They've all been cleared to play."

Sullivan had groin surgery in early March and returned for the Predators' penultimate game. He said he has been skating for more than three weeks and feels good.

"That's going to be getting better every single day," Sullivan said. "That's going to be a continuation. I think every touch I can get on the ice -- good practices, games -- I'm going to continue to get better every time."
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Quote of the Day

He's able to play now, we just want to see other guys. We know what he can do.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on not rushing Steven Stamkos onto the ice