Originally posted on Red Light District Hockey  |  Last updated 4/13/12

NASHVILLE – Last spring as a postseason of firsts for the Predators – first series win, first overtime win, first win in a Game Five, first win when facing elimination. They have a chance to scratch another ‘first’ off their list tonight: gaining a 2-0 series lead.

Two days after taking Game One by a score of 3-2, the Predators are hoping to hold serve on home ice when the series shifts to Detroit this weekend. The Predators expect Detroit’s best effort tonight in Game Two.

“We have to be ready,” goaltender Pekka Rinne said this morning. “I’m sure they are going to elevate their game, so we have to do the same. … A lot of is mental, too. You have to be mentally strong and just kind of stand your ground and can’t give up anything.”

One of Detroit’s specialties is coming out of the gates with a lot of offensive zone pressure, especially when they are desperate. They have also preached net presence in the last 24 hours, looking for more bodies to be around the crease.

If the Predators can stave off the Red Wings and weather the storms, they could be looking at a two-game lead in a tight series, which would be a considerable advantage.

“That’s a huge momentum thing if you have take care of your home games and use that to your advantage,” said Rinne, who made 35 saves on Wednesday. “We still have to go one game at a time, focus on [tonight’s game] and do everything we can to make it 2-0.”

The Predators will be without defenseman Hal Gill tonight. The 6-foot-7 blue-liner skated briefly at morning skate, but will not play tonight due to his lower-body injury.

“I’m going to give it more time. I don’t think at this point I can help the team,” Gill said. “We have some good players that can play, so I’ll let them go.

“There’s being tough and there’s too much pride; at this point it would be too much pride to play.”

Gill said he would accompany the team to Detroit for Games Three and Four.

Head coach Barry Trotz mentioned that seven defensemen will skate in warm-ups, meaning it’s a game-time decision as to whether Jack Hillen or Ryan Ellis will play. Hillen played in Game One, logging 8:20 of ice-time.

Photo credit: Getty Images
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