Erat 'ready to go' against Canucks

RANDY SPORTAK QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:13 PM ET

VANCOUVER -- The Nashville Predators advanced to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history by outgunning the Anaheim Ducks.

Still, nobody will confuse the Predators with the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s.

Which is why the Predators are ecstatic to have Martin Erat return from injury in time for their playoff series with the Vancouver Canucks, which opens Thursday night.

On Tuesday, Erat practised with the team for the first time since suffering an injury in the fourth game of his team's series with the Ducks and made the Wednesday trip to Vancouver.

"He's ready to go," proclaimed Predators coach Barry Trotz. "He's excited and we're excited to have him back in the lineup. That was a big hole to fill without him in that series."

Erat was injured after being on the receiving end of a late, and high, hit from Anaheim's Jarkko Ruutu. Ruutu received a one-game suspension.

Erat tied for the team lead with 50 points (17-33-50) during the regular season. He collected one goal and two assists in the playoffs before being injured.

"The guys stepped up," Erat told the Nashville Tennessean. "Some guys played unbelievable in the first series. We still have a long way to go."


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