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Agressive-minded Josi still adjusting for Predators

by John Manasso
NASHVILLE – For the second time this season, Predators rookie defenseman Roman Josi took an aggressive approach in an even-numbered situation on Thursday and for the second time it ended up in the back of his net.

Earlier this season when Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro did it to him on Jan. 5, and Predators coach Barry Trotz said that Josi, an excellent skater with an offensive upside who has four goals and 11 assists in 46 games, needed time to learn the League’s personnel.

Trotz sounded that theme again Saturday after Colorado’s David Jones beat him Thursday night along the boards, creating a 2-on-1 that led to Jamie McGinn’s goal. (Nashville also had a blown coverage on the back end of the play, further complicating the situation.)

“What happened was he got bent over reaching,” Trotz said. “If you’re going to expose yourself to try to stand up a guy, you really can’t do that because you get on your toes, then you can’t turn. You’ve got to sit back on your heels and if you’re going to stand the guy, at least you can push forward… Those are little things we talk about one-on-one. He got a little bit anxious and he exposed himself outside the dots and he certainly got walked there….

"Those are just quick decisions that happen in games. Jose is pretty good one-on-one because of his skating ability. Once he goes through the League a couple of times, he’ll know what to expect all the time.”

Josi said it was a bad play, but he was glad later to earn a primary assist to help put Nashville ahead 2-1.

“You got 0.1 seconds to decide what to do,” Josi said. “I decided to be aggressive. … kind of a pretty good move. I got beat a little bit. I poke-checked him and the puck went in the corner, but it was 2-on-1 after that so it’s tough sometimes, but you have to learn out of those situations and next time you can avoid them.”

Nashville coach Barry Trotz would not say whether forward Colin Wilson would return to the lineup on Saturday against Detroit. Wilson was a healthy scratch for the first time this season in a 4-2 win Thursday over Colorado.

Last season, Wilson, 22, a high first-round pick of Nashville’s, was scratched for a protracted period at the end of last season and then into the start of the playoffs until the coaching staff convinced him his play had to improve. Trotz said after Thursday that he did not expect the situation to repeat itself.

Projected lineup:

Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Andrei Kostitsyn - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Matt Halischuk - Nick Spaling - Jordin Tootoo
Gabriel Bourque - Paul Gaustad - Brandon Yip

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Roman Josi
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis

Out: Brian McGrattan, Colin Wilson, Craig Smith, Jack Hillen
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