Monday, January 9, 2012

Nashville hopes to be more consistent in second half of season

The first half of the 2011-2012 season was a bit of a roller coaster ride for the Nashville Predators. Nashville started the year with a 2-3-1 record through their first six games, but were able to rebound. After 41 games, the Predators have posted 48 points and a 22-15-4 record, which is good for sixth place in the Western Conference.

"We had some ups and we had some downs that's for sure. I think in the beginning we didn't start off too hot. Some guys came back in the lineup, like Mike Fisher, and gave us a little energy. We started to figure out our game, and I think lately that's what we've been doing too. Toward the end of the first half, I think we're starting to get our identity. We'll have a bad game but we'll match it with a couple of good ones, and I think that's what we need to do," said Predators forward Colin Wilson.

The Predators really seemed to find their game during the last 20 games before the midpoint of the season. Nashville went 12-8-0 during that time, and posted an 8-4-0 record at home during that time.

"I think in the last 15 or 20 games we really picked it up. We've been playing much better. We've got some young guys coming up, and they're really making our team better. It's nice to have (Suter) and (Weber) back there, and (Rinne) has done a great job the whole season," said Predators right-winger Patric Hornqvist.

Now that the back half of the season has arrived, the Predators hope to play a more consistent game during the playoff push. Defense has historically been the strength of the Predators, but the defensive play this year has been largely unstable.

"We have to be a little bit more consistent defensively. We saw how hard we played defensively when (Weber) was out, and all of the sudden he comes back and I think the guys got a little complacent. We just need to be a little bit more consistent defensively and offensively," Wilson said.

Nashville is sitting in good position to make the playoffs at the half-way point of the season, but nothing is guaranteed in the Western Conference playoff race. Still, the Predators know they can be successful if they stick to their identity.

"We just have to be a little more consistently good. If we can keep our effort level high, we know we can win lots of hockey games," Hornqvist said.

(Photo Credit: Leanne Charles)

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