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Preds Set to Bring Their Best Against Blues

by Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

Sure, the Nashville Predators don’t like losing. Words such as “disappointing” or “frustrating” have become more commonplace around the dressing room over the past couple of weeks than they’d prefer.

But the Preds also know they have a good team, and at some point, they’re going to start stringing wins together again, like they’ve done before with this group.

Logic suggests the oddity of outplaying and outshooting teams, only to end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard at the end of the night, won’t continue forever.

“You’re going to go through some slumps during the season, and I think it happens to every team,” defenseman Roman Josi said after Wednesday’s practice at Centennial Sportsplex. “You want to win every game if you can, but that’s just not going to happen and that’s not possible in this League. You just have to stay positive.”

Perhaps a meeting on Thursday night against division rival St. Louis is the challenge the Predators need to play to their capabilities and show they belong with the best of the Central.

“They’re just a good team, and we seem to play good against good teams,” forward Mike Ribeiro said. “It’s a good challenge for us to go up there in their building and play a solid game. Hopefully we will win and get on a roll after that. It’s a good team to measure yourself against.”

Nashville has already faced the Blues once this season, a 4-0 loss at home back in November. The score says the game was a lopsided defeat, but the 45-28 shot total tells a different story, a game in which the Preds recall their effort simply being stymied by a hot goaltender.

“We had a lot of chances, outshot them pretty hard and the goalie kind of stood on his head, but playing St. Louis is always tough,” Josi said. “They always come out really hard and they play a physical game too, so we have to be ready.”

The Predators are well aware that being pleased with their effort doesn’t guarantee two points on a given night, but they also know they can be better from the opening puck drop to the final whistle on a consistent basis.

“You get frustrated when you’re not winning, but mostly disappointed that it’s the games that we think we can win and we should win and we don’t,” Ribeiro said. “We’re disappointed in the results and the only way to change is to go out there and work. When we outwork teams, most of the time, we come back with a win.”

Yes, the Preds don’t like losing, but it’s inevitable over the course of 82 games. The slumps are going to come, it’s just a matter of reversing the trend – and they know they can do so.

“It’s a long year, so we have to find a way to be more consistent and still remember to stay positive,” Josi said. “It’s easy to be negative if it doesn’t go your way, so we’ve got to be positive as a team and believe in each other.”

Lineup Notes and Injury News:

Forward Colin Wilson (lower-body) participated fully in Wednesday’s practice, traveled with the team to St. Louis, and is questionable for Thursday’s game against the Blues. Wilson hasn’t played since Dec. 7 at Boston.

Nashville’s line rushes looked like this on Wednesday:

Forwards
Filip Forsberg Calle Jarnkrok Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson Mike Ribeiro James Neal
Cody Hodgson Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad M. Salomaki/C. Wilson

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