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Preds Practice Report: November 1

by Staff Writer / Nashville Predators
The Preds hit the ice at Centennial Sportsplex on Tuesday morning following a 5-4 overtime loss at Chicago. Nashville is gearing up for a four-game road trip to the West Coast.

Here’s the notebook…

Better injury news: The club received some positive news on the injury front. Forwards Mike Fisher and Sergei Kostistyn practiced with the team on Tuesday, and Nashville coach Barry Trotz said he expects both to make the trip.

“I don’t have a defined decision on where we are yet (with them),” Trotz said. “They’re going to see their doctors and get evaluated. We’ll have a better idea probably after practice (on Wednesday). I expect both of them to make the trip. Fish skated beforehand, worked out and practiced with us. I think everything should be good for him.”

Fisher had played in three games since returning from offseason shoulder surgery, but was knocked out of Saturday’s game against Anaheim when he took a blindside hit from the Ducks’ Francois Beauchemin. Fisher, who is being listed with an upper-body injury, did not make the trip to Chicago.

Kostitsyn, who suffered a lower body injury during the second period of the Tampa Bay game, traveled with the team to Chicago and participated in yesterday's morning skate before being ruled out for last night's game.

Experience shows: At 31, David Legwand is one of the few Preds veterans. And with so many inexperienced players on Nashville’s roster, he’s making a point to help lead the way. Legwand leads the team in points (11) and assists (8). Those eight assists rank second in the Western Conference, just one behind the Sedin twins (Daniel and Henrik both have nine assists). And Legwand has been scoring in the clutch; his goal at 14:49 of the third at Chicago knotted the score at 4-4 to force overtime.

“We’re scoring, but obviously we have to be better in our own end, as a group and as a line,” Legwand said. “Everyone all together, I think we have to be better. And we can be better.”

His energy late in games is something his younger teammates can learn from, but the coaching staff would rather find ways to keep his minutes more manageable. The possible return of Fisher and Kostitsyn will help.

“In the last couple of games, and last night in particular, I had to play David 24 or 25 minutes,” Trotz said. “That’s too much for David to be effective as a player.”

Legwand has grown to embrace a leadership role, and it’s something he has studied for years.

“You learn from the guys who were here in the past,” Legwand said. “It’s the Tom Fitzgeralds and the Scott Walkers, those types of guys who did those things. You watched them and learned. Hopefully the young guys here can pick up on it, too. It’s a little different day and age now, but they will pick up something that helps them down the road.”

Staying out of the box: Troz said the team has improved in multiple areas during the last two weeks. But an area of concern crept up at Chicago. The Preds were called for nine penalties, including four in the third period. And even though Nashville didn’t allow a power play goal, it did drain some energy.

“That’s not what we do,” Trotz said. “We don’t take penalties. In the last couple of years, we’ve been a pretty disciplined team. That’s allowed us to play everybody. Last night it was very taxing on our penalty kill and our goaltender. It affects our whole group. We have to get away from that. When we had success in the last couple of games against Anaheim and against Tampa Bay, we didn’t take very many penalties. That’s where we have to get to.”

Thang to Milwaukee: The team reassigned forward Ryan Thang to Milwaukee. Thang played 8:32 at Chicago, nearly missing his first career point when the threaded a pass to Francis Bouillon coming out of the penalty box for a breakaway attempt. Thang had played in seven games with the Admirals this season, totaling five goals and one assist.

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