The third game of the West coast swing and the first of back to back games as the Preds take on the Ducks in the Honda Center with a 7:00 face off. The four game tour through the Pacific Division has started well with two victories. Tonight's contest should provide a stern test as the very physical Ducks will battle a wounded Preds squad. Wade Belak has been sent home and Patric Hornqvist joined the team last night to take his spot on the roster. Arnott and Bonk will still be out of the line up and Klein is sore from taking the brunt of a very hard shot against L.A., but is going to be in the lineup. Nashville occupies the 8th playoff spot with 75 points; Anaheim sits 12th with 70 points. In the battle for playoff positioning in the West, no team has been able to seperate from those in the hunt- Columbus (6th) has 78 points; Edmonton (7th) has 75 points; Nashville (8th) has 75 points; Dallas (9th) has 74 points; and Minnesota (10th) has 74 points. This indicates the critical nature of capturing points for the Preds and not wasting opportunities to distance themselves from teams that are chasing.
I had an opportunity to visit with Scott Nichol this morning. Scott is one of the truly good guys and offered his perspective on his game. He is still shaking off some of the rust and getting back into form to play his high energy game. His comment that was most telling was that he is ready to do what it takes to help this team win. The team will benefit from the energy he brings to the ice and the presence he provides in the locker room.
The guys understand the magnitude of these games and what it will take to bring home a victory. Time to translate it from the mind to heart and bring it to the ice.