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Trotz wants struggling Predators to 'stay the course'

by Sean Farrell

OTTAWA -- Both the Nashville Predators and Ottawa Senators are on the outside looking in at the Stanley Cup Playoff picture.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz recognizes Ottawa has a better vantage point at the moment on playing later into April as the two teams get ready for their game Monday at Canadian Tire Centre.

The Predators arrive in Canada's capital on a four-game losing streak and with one win in their past eight games (1-5-2). Nashville (26-28-10) is last in the Central Division with 62 points and 12th in the Western Conference, 10 points behind the Dallas Stars, who currently hold the second wild-card spot.

Ottawa (28-25-11) is in 12th place in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, four points out of the final playoff spot.

"They're a little closer than we are," Trotz said. "Realistically we're probably a really long shot. When you're 10 points out with 20 games to go, especially in the West with the teams, we're probably not in the mix right now, but you never know. You win a couple of games and the right teams lose, you sort of get back in the mix.

"We've got to battle through some resistance right now. The resistance is we're not scoring any goals and therefore we're not winning any hockey games, but we can't cheat all over the ice and try to score goals because that's a good way to get goals scored against you. So we're just trying to stay the course and do what we're doing, but do what we do better offensively and hopefully we'll get some finish around the net."

The Predators recalled center Colton Sissons from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League on Monday. Sissons, who has one assist in four games with Nashville this season, is coming off a pair of two-goal games for the Admirals. He has scored 24 goals and 17 assists for 41 points with Milwaukee.

"He's been one of the most consistent guys in Milwaukee all year," Trotz said.

Forward Patric Hornqvist did not skate with his teammates Monday because of a lower-body injury.

"We'll see where he is tonight," Trotz said. "I'm pretty sure he'll be able to go."

Matt Cullen took Hornqvist's spot on a line with Mike Fisher and Nick Spaling at the morning skate at Canadian Tire Centre. Trotz made some adjustments to his lines to try to generate some offense.

Nashville has scored two goals in its three previous games since goalie Pekka Rinne's return to the lineup.

"There's a lot of stuff that we're been doing in our game that, it's good, but the bottom line is there's a reason why we have a scoreboard," Trotz said. "Pekka's been playing pretty good for us, we've been playing pretty good team defense, doing a lot of things and getting a lot of chances, but we've got no finish around the net right now."

The Senators, who split a four-game Canadian road trip, play 11 of their final 18 games at home. They will have four days off before facing the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

"Any time you look at the schedule and you have a gap after a game you put more emphasis on that game to make sure that you go into that break with good feelings," Ottawa captain Jason Spezza said. "I think it would definitely help to win this game. It allows you maybe to grip the stick a little less tight in practice and work on some things and to not feel the tension of watching other guys play."

Senators left wing Clarke MacArthur won't play against Nashville because of a hand injury that sidelined him for Ottawa's 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. MacArthur skated in full uniform before his teammates took the ice and Senators coach Paul MacLean is optimistic he will not be out for long.

"I'm going to anticipate he will play Saturday in Montreal," MacLean said.

Here are the possible Predators and Senators lineups:


Nick SpalingMike FisherPatric Hornqvist

Eric Nystrom - Colin WilsonCraig Smith

Viktor Stalberg - Paul Gaustad - Matt Cullen

Gabriel Bourque - Colton Sissons - Patrick Eaves

Roman JosiShea Weber

Michael Del ZottoRyan Ellis

Mattias EkholmSeth Jones

Pekka Rinne

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Victor Bartley, Rich Clune


Milan Michalek - Jason Spezza - Ales Hemsky

Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Colin Greening - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Matt Kassian - Mika Zibanejad - Erik Condra

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Chris Phillips - Cody Ceci

Jared Cowen - Eric Gryba

Craig Anderson

Robin Lehner

Scratched: Patrick Wiercioch

Injuries: Clarke MacArthur (hand)

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