Elite League preview: Giants back on track after Devils defeats

Elite League preview: Giants back on track after Devils defeats

Belfast forward Blair Riley believes the Giants are back on track after the disappointment of losing twice in two days against Cardiff Devils.

The Giants go into this weekend’s Elite League double-header against Nottingham Panthers having won three games on the spin since losing to the Devils, and Riley is keen to keep that run going.

“We want to be playing on top of our game heading into the play-offs,” Riley told ITV.com.

“It would have been easy for us to fold up and pout a little bit, but I thought we did a great job of bouncing back and finding a way to get back on track right away.

“We’ve strung some wins together here and we’re in a good position heading down the stretch.

“I think the key to our team is our depth. We can get some good contributions from the back-end plus (Steve) Saviano has been great, (Colin) Shields has been scoring regularly throughout the year, so it looks good right now.

“We’ve had some success against the Panthers so they’re going to come in looking for some revenge, but if we want a chance of top spot we need to win both games.”

The Panthers travel to Belfast hoping to avenge their 4-3 defeat against the Giants on home ice two weeks ago.

Corey Neilson’s team played a more physical style during that game and will look to carry that forward into this weekend.

“That’s how we want to play – we want to play in their face and engage them,” he told the Nottingham Post.

“I find that Belfast, as tough as they are, they don’t play hard. They play fast and with skill, but what I’m saying is they physically don’t engage.

“When we’ve played them this year they’ve tried to put us to sleep. The fact there’s no energy in the game has worked for them.

“We don’t play so well in those situations. I’m encouraging our players to be ruthless and relentless.”

Edinburgh Capitals visit Manchester Storm on Saturday hoping to keep their fading play-off hopes alive.

Last Sunday’s 5-1 home defeat against Dundee left them six points behind the Stars with six games to play and was a major turn around in fortunes after an excellent 5-3 victory at Fife Flyers the previous day.

That win was the Capitals’ second in a row on the road, but forward Karel Hromas says they need to produce the same level of form on home ice if they’re to finish in the top eight.

“Obviously it is good for us that we can take points from the other team’s rink, but we want to be strong back home also,” said Hromas.

“For us it doesn’t matter now if we play out or at home, we just need to win home and away.

“There is still a chance to make the play-offs. Until we’re not in the play-off game we want to keep battling for the play-offs – that’s an easy plan for us.

“It’s a big weekend against Manchester again – every game is going to be big. We’re going to prepare and try to take points in Manchester.”

WEEKEND FIXTURES

Friday

Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers

Saturday

Braehead Clan v Sheffield Steelers
Cardiff Devils v Dundee Stars
Coventry Blaze v Fife Flyers
Manchester Storm v Edinburgh Capitals

Sunday

Belfast Giants v Nottingham Panthers
Dundee Stars v Manchester Storm
Edinburgh Capitals v Fife Flyers
Sheffield Steelers v Cardiff Devils

(Image permission: Press Eye)

Belfast GiantsBraehead ClanCardiff DevilsCoventry BlazeDundee StarsEdinburgh CapitalsElite LeagueFeaturedFife FlyersManchester StormNottingham PanthersSheffield Steelers ← Previous Story EPL preview: Koulikov “not afraid” of Lightning

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