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Preds Return Home with Ford Ice Center Practice

by Thomas Willis / Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators forward Craig Smith joked that he was motivated to shoot harder and skate faster surrounded by more than a hundred fans during the team’s practice at Ford Ice Center.

Kidding aside, Pekka Rinne said a changed atmosphere surrounding the on-ice session was a welcomed experience for players and fans.

“It was great, you’re not used to that usually when you’re at practice, it’s just empty seats and us and the coaches,” Rinne said. “It’s fun when you get the chance to skate in front of your fans. It’s a good opportunity for fans to kind of see inside the team, what goes on in a practice and what we’re working on.”

The Predators skated for close to an hour on Ford Ice Center’s North Rink on Monday, a day removed from finishing a three-game road trip that saw them pick up four out of a possible six points. Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said the team will be looking to build on their pair of wins away from Bridgestone Arena this week as the Tampa Bay Lightning, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins - three teams each with Stanley Cup aspirations - come to Nashville.

“We have to keep pushing right now, we have a real tough game ahead of us, a real tough home stand coming up here.” Laviolette said. “We have to be ready to play, but there’s a lot of good things we did. I think we also know that we can play better in certain areas.”

Perhaps Monday’s practice in a new environment will help to kickstart the Predators to building on their play in the early season that has them 4-1-0 and tied for second in the Central Division.

“It’s always great having the fans out to watch us at a practice, we know we have the best fans in the League out here,” blueliner Victor Bartley said. “We really appreciate them coming out, it gives us that extra boost of energy for your passing and shooting. The guys had fun today seeing the fans out there and made the whole day better.”

Lines and Injury Updates:

Defensemen Ryan Ellis and Barret Jackman, along with forward Austin Watson, were all absent from Monday’s practice and were given maintenance days. Ellis is considered to be day-to-day after taking a puck to the inside of his knee in Saturday’s shootout victory over the Ottawa Senators.

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Mike Fisher James Neal
Colin Wilson Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson Cody Hodgson Calle Jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Gabriel Bourque

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The Predators defensive unit skated primarily as groups of threes during line rushes.

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