The Predators completed a brief practice at Bridgestone Arena Thursday morning, one day after recording a 2-0 shutout against the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 of their Western Conference Semifinals series. The Predators will have a chance to tie the series at two games apiece in Game 4, 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday.
Twenty-five players participated in Thursday’s session. Notably absent were Hal Gill and Paul Gaustad. “They’re both penalty killers so most penalty killers get hit with shots,” Predators head coach Barry Trotz said after practice. “They’re both just having a maintenance day. They’re fine.”
Forward Matt Halischuk, who slid awkwardly into the end boards in Game 3 and missed some time during the game, was on the ice for the full session.
“I thought he might be one of the guys that needed a maintenance day but he was out there so I think he’s going to be fine for tomorrow,” Trotz said about Halischuk. “We’ll see how he is. When I first saw him going into the boards I thought that was going to be a little bit more substantial, if you will.”
Trotz said he has some hard decisions to make about the lineup for Game 4, given the strong efforts from Halischuk and Jordin Tootoo, both of whom returned to game action after being scratched in recent games. “The guys that were in played hard and got the job done, so it would be very difficult for me at this point to give you an exact lineup for tomorrow.”
Trotz said he was going to review Game 3 more closely Thursday afternoon with his coaching staff to make a decision about personnel for Friday’s game. Due to Game 3’s special start time of 6:30 p.m., the Predators will conduct their morning skate at 9:30 a.m. Friday instead of the usual 10:15 a.m.
Practice lines for Thursday:
Mike Fisher centering Sergei Kostitsyn and Martin Erat
David Legwand centering Gabriel Bourque and Patric Hornqvist
Nick Spaling centering Brandon Yip and Colin Wilson
Matt Halischuk centering Jordin Tootoo and Brian McGrattan
Craig Smith centering Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov