Predators Gameday: Team success could keep offensive stars sidelined

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 12:21pm

Barry Trotz can be convinced to sit forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for more than one game. All it will take is a victory.

“Obviously with our situation, tonight if we get it done I would expect I’d probably go back with the same group — the group that gets it done,” the Nashville Predators coach said following his team’s morning skate Wednesday.

He declined to say who would replace Radulov and Kostitsyn, benched for disciplinary reasons, when the Predators face the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal series at Bridgestone Arena (8 p.m., CNBC). Nashville lost the first two games of the series in Phoenix.

Jordin Tootoo, Matt Halischuk are the most likely candidates to step in. Tootoo has played just once in this postseason and Halisuck has appeared in three games but has sat out the last three.

Craig Smith has played twice, including the series opener at Phoenix, and Colin Wilson made his postseason debut Sunday.

Three of those four will play in this one.

“We’ve been doing it all year long,” Tootoo said. “There were guys stepping up in key moments. This is a time where if you get your opportunity you have to seize it.

“There’s a lot of hungry guys that have been out of the lineup and have been waiting to get in. So it’s just a matter of time before someone gets in and proves himself.”

Nashville has used 24 different players this postseason. Of them, 17 have played in every game, including Radulov, the team’s leading scorer with six points, and Kostitsyn, who is tied for the team lead with three goals.

“This will be a great test for us,” Trotz said. “We’ve gone through some adversity the last couple days — a lot of talk, rumor and all that. The only thing that matters are the 20 guys that are going on the ice tonight, a couple coaches and a bunch of fans trying to beat the Phoenix Coyotes.”

• Quote of note: “If we took them lightly then shame on us. That’s all I can say. I don’t believe we did, but shame on us if we did.” — Trotz, on the fact that Nashville is down two games in the series.

• Notable numbers: 3 — road victories for the Coyotes thus far this postseason. They have played just three road games.

7 — times in eight playoff games Phoenix has scored three goals or more. It has won six of those seven.

9 — goals allowed by the Predators in the first three games of this series. They allowed nine total in the five games against Detroit.

16 — straight games since Mike Fisher’s last postseason goal. He had three in the first three games last season but has not scored since.

25 — playoff shots on goal by left wing Patric Hornqvist, the most by a Nashville player. He has just one goal.