Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/02/12 at 08:15 PM ET
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
After months of debating the three-team race in the Central Division among Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis, the men from the Music City have muscled their way into the conversation.
Well, that’s what 13 wins in your past 15 games can do for you, right?
“Right now, we’ve got really good team chemistry,” Preds coach Barry Trotz told ESPN.com on Wednesday. “Talk about a group that just comes to play. We’re getting great goaltending but, really, contributions throughout our lineup. ... Everyone is playing with a purpose.”
Trotz, in fact, credited the incredible competition in his division as a factor in his young team’s rise. He feels the standard is so high when playing against the Wings, Blues and Blackhawks that his team has no choice but to try to keep up.
His team feeds off those challenges. Much like the Preds look forward to a tough test Thursday night in Philadelphia in what is ESPN.com’s Game of the Week, teams separated by two points.
“Philly’s a really good measuring stick for what the league has to offer as a top team,” Trotz said. “There’s also a couple of ex-Predators on that team. We don’t play them a lot but they’re always good games.”
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