NASHVILLE -- The night owls may be back Monday.
Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz, on a media conference call Saturday, said there is a "high probability" both Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn will return to the lineup Monday night with his team down 3-1 in the series to the Phoenix Coyotes.
Trotz said the Predators had a lot of chances in Friday night's 1-0 loss at home, but several of his top players failed to finish. So he may re-insert Radulov and Kostitsyn. Both players were suspended for Game 3 after breaking the team curfew on the eve of Game 2. Trotz sat them out again for Game 4, because -- like most NHL coaches at playoff time -- he was not willing to change a winning lineup from Game 3.
The Predators managed 25 shots on goal on red-hot netminder Mike Smith in Game 4, but also had 14 missed shots.
“I thought we did a good job to pressure them to make those bad shots,” Smith said after the game. “It’s one thing to have time and get a good look and get a shot away, but we forced them tonight where they got in situations where they had to shoot the puck quick. When you have to shoot the puck quick, you can’t get it on target. My D were outstanding tonight, back pressure was great and we found a way to sneak one out.”
Preds winger Patric Hornqvist missed five shots by himself, wasting a few golden chances.
"I have to score," Hornqvist said after the game. "If I get that opportunity, I have to put one in the back of the net to get us to overtime. It was bad. I tried to get it up. I'm so close to [Smith on one play]. He's so big. So I tried to get it over. So, yeah, I missed the net. And then when Leggy [David Legwand] gave it to me backdoor, I didn't really see it -- it was bouncing and couldn't finish and one hit the post. Yeah, that happens. Now we have to get three games in a row."
Discipline for Klesla?
Klesla got a two-minute boarding minor on the play. Halischuk was shaken up on the play and briefly went to the locker room but returned to the finish the game.
Trotz said Saturday that he thought it was a dangerous hit.
"When I looked at it on film, I thought it was a very dangerous hit," Trotz said. "I played defense, not well mind you, but I’ve played defense before. Klesla grabs the back of Halischuk’s shirt, and pulls him back. That’s that whiplash effect that when you push him right between the numbers when he’s facing the boards, I looked at it and it was a really dangerous hit in my eyes. How the referees or the league will view it, I can’t really speak on that, but from my eyes and knowing from playing defense, drilling him when you do that whiplash effect of pulling the shirt and then driving him, it was really fortunate that Halischuk did sort of spin at the last moment or that could have been very similar to a Kris Draper type of hit when he was playing for the Red Wings against Colorado and [Claude] Lemieux hit him. He could have took the edge of the boards right across the face there and it could have been a lot worse than it was. I think Matt was very fortunate and it was a dangerous hit in my eyes. From my perspective, I’m obviously partial to our players and our team. We’ll let the league decide what they’re going to do with it, but if they’re looking at it, I think it’s the right thing to do and I’m sure they’ll deal with it with the way they always have with the thoroughness of all the other situations. A hard game to call and I respect all the decisions no matter what the decision is. But personally, I thought it was a dangerous hit."