The Nashville Predators will face the Minnesota Wild tonight in the first of back-to-back games for the Preds. While they will return to the Sommet Center on Thursday for the first home game in two weeks, the Predators are trying to focus only on one game at a time.
Both Nashville and Minnesota have struggled out of the gate this season. Defenseman Shea Weber
acknowledged the importance for the Preds to gain those two points in tonight’s play.
“It’s huge, they are right behind us and that would be last place. We have to make up some ground here. It’s a bit of a log jam down there, so if we could string some games together here we can start moving up in the standings.”
Fellow defenseman Dan Hamhuis feels the Preds need to worry more about what they are doing on the ice to reach the goal of two points for each game.
“I don’t think it matters too much who we play, it’s more about how we play. That’s going to be most important; we really have to start playing a lot better here. Our whole game, there isn’t anything that is really going well for us right now. It really starts with us.”
However both d-men did go on to talk about the positive momentum the team could bring home for the match up against Chicago tomorrow with a win tonight.
“Especially on the road you want to have a good game and kind of build on that,” Weber went on to explain. “Then you have the momentum coming back; you get home late (after traveling from Minnesota) but you’re still thinking positively and looking forward to the next day.”
Hamhuis agrees that the momentum would be great for the team heading back to Sommet Center, but still feels the team has bigger things to be concerned with at this point.
“It would be great to win the first one on the road and then coming back home with momentum. But right now we really just have to stay focused on playing that first game. Every shift we take has to be better and better.”
Coach Trotz has confirmed that Hamhuis will return to the Predator’s lineup tonight. Hamhuis has been forced to only watch his team mates play since the October 15th game against Chicago due to an upper-body injury.
After skating on his own and then joining team skate the past two days, a very eager Hamhuis feels able to give his all on the ice tonight against the Wild.
“It’s kind of the first time I have missed a lot of games due to injury. After watching the team play on TV for four games, I’m really excited to get back in the lineup and try to help out.”
Trotz also went on to talk about the defensemen situation with his team. “We are going to stick with seven “D.” I think we will have three pairs and there will just be one guy out every night.” Trotz went onto add, “We have a lot of games in a short period of time so if you’re playing well you will be in. If you’re not we will pull you for someone else.”
Besides the addition of Hamhuis back into the lineup, forward Mike Santorelli has been called back up from Milwaukee. After making the Preds Opening Night roster, Santorelli was sent to Milwaukee to re-gain his confidence. In four games with the Admirals he scored eight points, including four goals, to earn the re-call back to the NHL.
On the injury front, forward Jordin Tootoo
has skated with the team the last two days. Tootoo appears to be getting closer to returning, however he will still be held out of the lineup for tonight’s game. Team caption Jason Arnott is also still out on injured reserved.