After a long West Coast road trip the now 8-8-1 Nashville Predators return to Smashville as they go head-to-head against the Montreal Canadiens tonight at the Sommet Center.
Head Coach Barry Trotz is aware of how dangerous the first game back from a road trip has been for teams across the league, he hopes he has prepared his team enough mentally for the challenge.
“We told them to treat this as one more road game and then we will take a day off and get transplanted here in Nashville and go from there. I’m not looking for any excuses tonight; I’m looking for the guys to play the way they are capable of playing.”
Tonight’s game holds special meaning for defensemen Francis Bouillon
will play in his first game against Montreal after spending close to his entire NHL career with the Canadiens. Kevin Klein
, the other half to Bouillon’s D-pair, talked this morning after practice about how he could already see the drive in Bouillon. “You can already see it; he came to the rink today with a big smile on his face and asking me to help him out tonight so we can take them down.”
Coach also talked about tonight’s match-up from Bouillon’s perspective, and how he knows the team will be there to support him. “The first game against (a former team) is always special, so the guys are all geared up and I’m pretty sure the guys would like to get the win for Frank. He is just one of those teammates that everyone just rallies around.”
Trotz went on to add, “I don’t expect anything more, but I know emotionally he will be engaged. The trick is not to do something you are not capable of doing, or try to do too much. If he just plays his steady game he will do great.”
Beyond a solid performance from Bouillon, Coach Trotz did review after morning skate a few things he is really looking for out of his team tonight:
The first is for his top line to be “dangerous.” He is looking for Arnott-Dumont-Sullivan to carry a big load and perform to their best but with that said he added it was just as important for everyone else to contribute. Injury Report: Colin Wilson
Next, Trotz wants to be able to play four lines on a consistent basis. “I think we are a really good team when we can play our whole bench,” Coach added.
Lastly, is keeping to the team’s identity. Coach voiced that after about Game Eight the team really started to play “Predators hockey” and with that the team became more successful. While acknowledging that there are still adjustments that are needed Coach feels that if the team plays together and sticks to their identity they are a solid hockey team.
remains sidelined with a groin injury. While he is listed as day-to-day, after not skating this morning Coach Trotz simply said “so more than just day-to-day.” Also, forward Wade Belak will miss tonight’s game game with a lower body injury.