Veteran defenseman Hal Gill has been out of the lineup for the Nashville Predators since Feb. 23 in Detroit when he suffered a lower-body injury. It appears his return to the Predators’ lineup could come as soon as Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Hal skated with us full practice and looked good. I would think that there’s a good chance you’ll see him in (Saturday) unless he has a setback, and I don’t think he did,” said Predators Head Coach Barry Trotz after Friday’s practice.
The Predators have really missed Gill on the penalty kill especially. Nashville’s penalty kill is ranked 26th in the NHL, having successfully killed off only 77.2 percent of their penalties so far this season. Gill is an extremely valuable asset on the penalty kill, which will be a very welcome addition to this Predators team.
It’s crunch time for the Predators, who currently find themselves outside of the playoff picture in the Western Conference. Gill’s potential return comes at a crucial point in the season. There are only 17 games remaining for the Predators in the regular season. The playoffs are really in full swing for the Predators already.
“We knew this season was going to be intense, but now we’re in an urgent mode where we have to get points in every game and we have to get those wins or else we’re going to be out of the picture pretty quick. To string some wins together will be huge for our confidence, but also if you win a couple games you’re right back in it in the standings,” Gill said.
The Predators have 11 of their final 17 games on home ice, which should theoretically be very beneficial to the Predators and their playoff pursuits. However, they still have to play the games.
“I think that’s a huge advantage for us. We have to use it, though. If we sit back and expect wins to happen, we’re going to be in for a sorry surprise,” Gill said. “We’ve got to focus on doing the right things and don’t expect good things to happen at home. We’ve got to make them happen.”