The Nashville Predators hit the ice this morning after their first home loss since October 15 to get back on track and take on the Florida Panthers tonight at home, one of the three Eastern Conference teams the Preds will play twice this season.
Post game last night players and coaches alike stated that they were not happy with the play in the 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues. With a 24 hour turn around, head coach Barry Trotz knows he must see a different style of play out of his men tonight if they are going to win.
“More than anything it is about us; let’s play our style of game. Get the mentality that we will play a Predator type of game tonight and not worry as much about the Florida Panthers.”
Coach Trotz did describe the Panthers as a team who will be looking to push the speed and tempo to control the game. “They want to play a wide open run-and-gun game. I don’t think they want to play a very meticulous type of game where you have to grind it out; they want to go with pace, they want to go with speed and they want to go with numbers.”
However again Trotz feels that the Preds do not need to tailor play to this style rather play how they know best. “I think you have to make a really hard game for them. We have to play our game; a little harder, puck possession type of game.”
To do this, coach stated that both the energy and urgency level of his team need to be much higher than what was seen last night. GOALTENDING
Playing the second game of a back-to-back – and the middle game of a three-in-four nights stretch – the coaches will turn to Dan Ellis in net tonight, his first action since November 10 at San Jose.
Trotz is confident in both of his netminders, but the combination of Pekka Rinne
’s hot play (leads NHL goaltenders in wins this month) and the spacing of the schedule (this is Nashville’s only back-to-back set this month) made it tough to work Ellis into the rotation recently. However, Trotz credits Ellis for staying prepared during the past two weeks.
“The thing with Ellis is that he has done a really good job of preparing. He goes in tonight and we’ll see if he can get on a roll for us.”
With any goaltender who hasn’t seen recent playing time, Trotz stated that the most important shot is the first. “Any goal tender will tell you that stopping that first shot is key, if you can do that you start to get a feel for the game.”