That's one tough barn

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:54 AM ET

NASHVILLE -- This is the country music capital, not Chicago, but the Nashville Predators really have turned their home into a House of Blues.

There isn't a tougher place in the NHL to collect points than the noisy, intimidating barn the Predators guard so well.

Since 2005-06, only the Detroit Red Wings have posted as many wins on home ice, 86 in 127 games.

"They're a team that really seems to be able to capture momentum in this building when they need it," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, whose club lost its last four visits to Music City heading into last night's game.

The Preds make a point of making it tough on visitors. Nashville is a great place to come if you want to see live bands, but not if you want to play hockey.

"We want that to be known," said defenceman Shea Weber. "We want teams coming into Nashville to think it's going to be a tough place to play. That it's going to be a hard game and a battle."

It's the only style they know. Nashville, when Paul Kariya and Peter Forsberg played here, used to score a few pretty goals, but now they're a blue-collar crew that does most of their damage from 10 feet in.

"We grind it out in the corners, get pucks to the net and get second and third chances," said Jordin Tootoo. "We have guys who are gritty and like to get their noses dirty. We have a lot of guys who love the red zone, who aren't perimeter players. In this league you can't score goals from the perimeter."

"The fans here also have something to do with it, too. Nashville ain't a hockey town by any stretch, but the people who do show up are loud, in a building where the noise seems to echo.''

"They give us life," Weber said of the fans.

"It's an adrenalin rush that we feed off.''

"Our building has a lot of energy," said head coach Barry Trotz. "There was a time when we couldn't win at home, and we weren't drawing so well, so we thought winning some games at home would change things. We really put an emphasis in pushing the home games and we've had pretty good success the last four or five years."

HOMERS: TOP FIVE HOME-ICE TEAMS SINCE 2005: NASHVILLE (86 WINS), DETROIT (86), CALGARY (84), ANAHEIM (80) AND DALLAS (79).


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