Barry Trotz Postgame Presser
Patric Hornqvist and Dan Ellis Locker room comments
After two periods of sometimes ragged and uneven play the Nashville Predators found another gear and came from behind to defeat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at the Sommet Center in Thursday night's home opener.
Patric Hornqvist was the game's first star as he scored two goals 2:17 apart late in the third period to propel the Predators to victory. The game appeared to have been tied a couple of minutes before Hornqvist's first goal but the officials waived it off.
After the game Hornqvist indicated that the waived off goal was the turning point in the game saying, "after that, we took over the whole game and showed a good effort in the third. It was a great two points for us."
Hornqvist felt relieved after his penalty when he ran over Colorado Goalie Craig Anderson earlier in the third period led to a Marek Svatos power play goal that had given Colorado the 2-1 lead.
Dan Ellis played well in goal stopping 22 of 24 Colorado shots giving him a 2-0 record for the season. When asked if he would like to play again Saturday he proved to be the ultimate team player saying, "Pekka has played great, and was outstanding last year and he has earned a game. The coaches have decided on a certain rotation and you respect whatever they do."
Ellis continued, "My goal is not to worry about being a number one or two but to play well when I'm in the net. If you play well, you will get noticed and if you win games you will continue to play. You play the best when you are out there and when you are sitting then cheer the team on."
Barry Trotz credited the defense for spurring the attack in the third period saying "the defense was getting the puck on net and getting traffic. We saw a lot of pucks get into that area. On a good night you might score three or four of those instead of just two."
All of the offense came with the same five skaters on the ice. The first line of Jason Arnott, Steve Sullivan, and Patric Hornqvist along with the defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter accounted for all three goals and six assists.
When questioned about the lack of contribution from the Legwand line Trotz explained, "Leggy's line the last two games has been put in more of a defensive role so he's had to carry a little more of a defensive responsibility. I'm looking for secondary scoring throughout the lineup but that is sort of the role that they have been given."
Late call up, Triston Grant, saw plenty of action in the first two periods but was whistled twice for penalties that were not the kind the Predators want to see. His first interference penalty led to the games first scoring when Colorado took a 1-0 lead on a Kyle Quincy power play goal at 4:40 of the second period.
Barry Trotz commented that Grant was "trying to make some impact today and bang a little. I said come in here and be a little of that Smashville because that's what he does and I thought he played pretty well. Obviously, I'm not happy with him taking two penalties but for the most part last year he wasn't in the mix to be here and now he's in the mix. He a tough kid who can play the game and he earned the right to come up here and play and I thought he did a good job."
Most likely, Grant will return to Milwaukee as Trotz confirmed that Joel Ward will play the next game on Saturday against Buffalo. It doesn't appear that J. P. Dumont, Jordan Tootoo or Colin Wilson will be available for the the next game.
Pekka Rinne is set to make his season debut in Saturday's contest. Trotz explained his strategy in goal, "They are both good goaltenders. I have really a lot of faith in both and I think we have as good a goaltending as anyone in the league, one, two."
Further he said that he had not made a choice on Monday's starter, "I'm really not going to think too far ahead. Both of them are going to play a lot of hockey for us. If someone gets really hot then we will go with him but they are both really capable goalies."
With all the injuries and several new players the Predators are still in a feeling out period to see what type of team will develop. They are fortunate to have two wins under their belt and will be looking for ongoing improvement over the next few weeks as the team attempts to find its identity.
The Predators have little time to savor the victory as Buffalo comes to Nashville on Saturday and then Edmonton will follow on Monday.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass