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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 20

Preds Skate at Unique Chelsea Piers; Effort Equaling Results for Nashville; Weber off IR, Bonino to IR

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

More than one correct answer can be offered up when trying to pinpoint the predominant reason for the Predators' excellent play over their past five contests.

They've picked up nine of a possible 10 points, but even outside of that, the improvement throughout the lineup has been apparent to even the casual observer. With a chance to go two-for-two on their current road trip with a victory over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Saturday afternoon, the Preds' increased comfort in their on-ice system and renewed focus within it appear to have them poised for long-term success.

Following Friday's practice, Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said he doesn't change the overall theme of how he wants his team to play from season to season, but that it took a couple of games for the Preds to realize their role within it.

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 16

Through Five Games, Predators Say Effort Improving Nightly

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

The fashion in which the Predators lost a 2-1 overtime contest in Chicago on Saturday night - particularly considering the controversial, game-tying goal late in regulation - undoubtedly brought feelings of frustration and deflation.

But over the course of an 82-game season, those nights are bound to happen, and chances are good that the Preds didn't spend much of their off day on Sunday replaying the final result in their minds.

"Pretty much immediately," forward Colton Sissons said when asked how quickly he lets the disappointment of a game like that float away. "We feel that if we play that way more often than not we're going to come out with two points. We left one on the board, so that was disappointing, but we did like our game a lot."

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 11

One Day Later, Samuel Girard Reflects on his NHL Debut

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Typically, the Predators starting goaltender - either Pekka Rinne or Juuse Saros - will lead the team onto the ice for warm-ups.

Neither of the puck stoppers assumed that role on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena. Rather, the honor was reserved for a soft-spoken, 19-year-old from Quebec, about to make his NHL debut.

Indeed, Samuel Girard leapt from the entryway to the frozen sheet and took a couple solo laps, much to the enjoyment of his teammates, before they joined the rookie defenseman.

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 9

Scott Hartnell Set for Second Nashville Debut; Preds Ready to Raise Banner in Home Opener

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Scott Hartnell is ripe for his Nashville debut - part two.

The veteran winger and his teammates host their home opener on Tuesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers at Bridgestone Arena, perhaps the most anticipated such occurrence in franchise history.

The scheduled unveiling and raising of the Western Conference Championship banner may have something to do with that, coupled with a hockey-crazed city's desire to see their team once more.

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 6

Nick Bonino Gets Very Early Crack at Former Club in Stanley Cup Final Rematch

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Nick Bonino doesn't have to wait nearly as long as most NHLers in his position.

A two-time Stanley Cup Champion in back-to-back seasons with Pittsburgh, the veteran centerman departed the Steel City over the summer, inking a four-year deal to join the Predators.

While most players have at least a month or so to think about facing their former mates and get "that one" out of the way, Bonino will complete the task Saturday night when the Preds meet the Pens at PPG Paints Arena - and that's just fine by him.

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 4

Rookie Defenseman Samuel Girard's First Call was to Parents After Making Opening Night Roster

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Upon finding out he had made the opening night roster of the Nashville Predators, there wasn't any doubt as to whom Samuel Girard would place his first phone call.

The rookie defenseman, just 19 years old, was summoned into the coaches' office prior to Tuesday's practice - a few hours before Nashville's final roster had to be submitted to the NHL - and was told he'd be sticking with the big club after an impressive showing during the preseason.

So before putting on his pads, he made the call back home to Roberval, Quebec, to tell his parents the news. By the time he got off the ice from practice approximately three hours later, his phone was full of missed calls, texts and notifications of congratulations and well wishes from family and friends, an overwhelming and humbling discovery.

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Preds Practice Ponderings: Oct. 3

Nashville Sets Opening Night Roster; Watson and Teammates Donate Suits for Good Cause

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

It wasn't perfect, but nothing at this time of the year ever really is.

Of course, the Predators would have preferred a different outcome as they concluded their preseason schedule with losses to Columbus (4-3, SO) and Tampa Bay (3-2, OT), but there was still plenty that was learned about the group and each other.

So, when the 2017-18 regular season begins for the Preds on Thursday night in Boston, they'll put their newly acquired knowledge to the test in the form of power plays and penalty kills, forechecks and zone coverages, all with the goal of starting out with a single victory.

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Preds Back to Work as Stanley Cup Final Approaches

Captain Mike Fisher Joins Teammates On Ice; Pekka Rinne Ready for Taste of Final

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

By sunrise, they'll be one of two.

For the first time since becoming Western Conference champions, the Nashville Predators took to the ice in preparation for their first Stanley Cup Final appearance next week. Their opponent - either Ottawa or Pittsburgh - will be determined after the two participate in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Final on Thursday night.

Indeed, the Predators realize how fortunate they are to be in their current position. They've shown that it doesn't matter how a team finishes in the regular season. What matters is how the club responds to the toughest challenges they can possibly face.

And because of Nashville's efforts, they had practice today. On May 25.

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Craig Smith at Preds Practice; Perhaps Nearing Return

Forward Last Played in Game Three of Round One, But Has Returned to Practice

by Thomas Willis @TomAWillis / Digital Manager & Producer

Craig Smith was a full participant in Thursday's practice, perhaps marking a step closer to returning to the Predators lineup.

The forward hasn't played since Game Three of Round One against the Chicago Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury. He's since joined the team on the ice for some of their morning skates, but today's involvement in a full practice was a first.

"I think the guys have been playing awesome; I definitely want to make a difference and chip in," said Smith, who has one assist in three postseason games.

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The Shift: How 83 Seconds Helped the Preds Win Game Three

Majority of Predators Roster Factors Into Goal; Record TV Ratings in Nashville; Preds Partner with Teamworks

by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator

Predators score on long shift

Predators tally on long shift in Blues' zone

The Predators circle the puck in the zone to force a long shift for the Blues defense, as Roman Josi finishes with a one-timer from distance

  • 02:17 •

When the puck entered the offensive zone with 7:13 remaining in regulation time of Game Three, not a single member of the Nashville Predators who eventually factored into their third and final goal of the game had hit the ice yet.

In fact, Austin Watson had time to enter the zone, complete his shift and return to the bench, all before play eventually stopped when Roman Josi's shot hit twine - 83 seconds after Viktor Arvidsson first pursued the puck.

At the 6:43 mark, Filip Forsberg looked to the bench for a swap in favor of Harry Zolnierczyk, completing the change with his linemates Watson and Mike Fisher. With 5:55 left, Fisher and Watson were gone, and Zolnierczyk knew time was almost up for him, too.

"I could tell that I had lost my centerman and winger, and so now I'm looking to ultimately make my change to complete the full change," Zolnierczyk said. "But it just happened that we still had some juice left."

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