The Nashville Predators look to extend a two game winning streak tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes at Bridgestone Arena in the two teams' second meeting of the season. The Preds won the first matchup 2-1 in a shootout, but have improved even further since then. I would stop short of calling the Hurricanes a cupcake on the schedule, but I will say that its important Nashville pick up points in games that they have no excuse not to win. Tonight is one of those.
After the jump, your lineups and pregame thoughts await.
Pekka Rinne, obviously, is injured, and Mark Dekanich was recalled from Milwaukee. Despite the recall, I think you can expect Anders the Giant to get the call.
#39 / Goalie / Nashville Predators
May 03, 1988
|2010 - Anders Lindback||8||388||3||1||18||2.78||206||188||.913||0|
The Predators remain without injured centers David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi, but the offense has improved of late with some line-switching.
Carolina is on the 2nd leg of a back-to-back (they won 2-1 last night over Colorado), so it could be Ward or backup Justin Peters.
#30 / Goalie / Carolina Hurricanes
Feb 29, 1984
|2010 - Cam Ward||20||1155||10||8||52||2.70||646||594||.920||1|
The Hurricanes, all things considered, remain fairly healthy:
- With Nashville coming in on more than two days' rest, and the Canes having just played last night, the Predators need to bring the same level of energy in the 3rd period as they do at puck drop. Carolina's legs will begin to tire as the game wears on, and an aggressive forecheck will be able to take advantage fairly easily.
- The Predators have now killed off a stunning 28 straight penalties and counting, good to move them up to 9th in the NHL. The streak may end tonight, but its really flown under the radar, and can be attributed to the entire team contributing, from Shea Weber to the wholly unheralded Nick Spaling, who just might be the best penalty killer on the team.
- Nashville has played only ten home games, which, obviously, is the lowest amount in the league. Count your blessings, though, because the Preds play 12 of their final 15 games this season at Bridgestone Arena. For a team that will hopefully still be in the thick of the playoff hunt, that'll be more than welcome.
- I almost hate to do this, simply because he's one of my favorite players, but for all the talk of Patric Hornqvist perhaps setting the franchise record in single-season goals, or becoming an elite scorer, thus far in the season he's largely disappointed. Yes, Hornqvist is third on the team with 12 points, and yes, he leads them in shots on goal with 79, but at no time have you gotten the feeling he's leading the team offensively like many expected. His non-stop effort is very much appreciated, but its time for the Horn Dog to score some goals. A Saturday night game against an Eastern Conference opponent seems like a good a time as any.
- Much like the Predators' penalty kill, 18 year old Carolina rookie Jeff Skinner is flying under the radar, regularly overlooked for players like P.K. Subban, John Carlson, Taylor Hall, and Tyler Seguin. While those are clearly promising players, Skinner leads all rookies and is 2nd on the Canes with 20 points in 25 games. Kevin Klein and Francis Bouillon would do well to keep an eye on #53 in white tonight.
- Regardless of who starts the game in net for Nashville, it will be a rookie goaltender, and as such, the defense in front of him needs to lock it down. Pekka Rinne isn't back there to bail them out like he has time and again, and won't be for a while, so the defenders need to become accustomed to playing an even tighter brand of hockey.