DETROIT – Barry Trotz has been on the bench leading the Nashville Predators in every year of their existence, so he would know better than anybody just how far his team has come in terms of measuring up against the Detroit Red Wings.
Nashville has played the Wings as tough as any team in the League and took four of six regular-season games from them last year. The secret really isn’t a secret at all, according to Trotz. It’s just the Nashville organization growing and adapting to playing Detroit often as Central Division rivals.
“We’ve played them a lot,” said Trotz, whose Preds will try to break a three-game winless streak on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena. “The one year we met them in the playoffs, we played them twice in the pre-season, played them six or eight times in the regular season and then played them six times in the playoffs. You start playing teams 15 times a year, you get a good feel for what their DNA is all about. That’s probably the biggest thing.”
Incremental increases in confidence that each close game brought also factors into it.
“I think over the course of time we’ve grown,” Trotz said. “We used to be almost terrified to come into the Joe the first couple years as an expansion team because they had the puck the whole time. Now (we have) great respect for what the Red Wings do as a team and organization, but not too much respect where you’re intimidated coming into the Joe. That’s probably been the biggest thing over the course of time that allows us to have success here.”