PREDATORS (41-15-7) at RANGERS (38-17-6)
TV: TVA, SN, FS-TN, MSG
The Predators, who lead the NHL with 89 points, are coming off back-to-back regulation losses for the first time this season against the Minnesota Wild on Thursday and Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Predators have lost two straight games three other times this season but one or both of the losses occurred in overtime or shootout.
"It's something you talk about all the time; great teams don't lose two in a row," Predators forward James Neal said. "That's something we put a lot of emphasis on. If we have a bad game we've been really good at bouncing back and obviously we lost a tough one against Detroit in our building and we've been really good at home. It'll be another great test against the Rangers."
The Predators and Rangers were active prior to the NHL Trade Deadline at 3 p.m. ET on Monday.
On Feb. 15 the Predators traded forwards Brendan Leipsic and Olli Jokinen, plus a 2015 first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli. In five games since the trade Franson has two assists; Santorelli is looking for his first point as a member of the Predators.
"I do think there's a little bit of an adjustment period [for Franson and Santorelli]," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "The snow storm didn't help because even though [the trade] was two weeks ago we've only seen them for a week because they weren't around because of the weather. They're finding their way."
Santorelli did score a shootout goal in a 2-1 victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 22.
"I feel like I've been getting chances but just haven't been able to find the back of the net," Santorelli said. "I just want to keep going out there and work hard. I like [Laviolette's] up-tempo system; I like that style of hockey."
The Rangers, who are 8-1-1 in the past 10 games and trail the first-place New York Islanders by two points in the Metropolitan Division with three games in hand, did not conduct a morning skate following a flurry of trades by general manager Glen Sather on Sunday.
In a span of a few hours the Rangers made three trades. The biggest was the acquisition of defensemen Keith Yandle and Chris Summers as well as a fourth-round pick in the 2016 draft from the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman John Moore, forward prospect Anthony Duclair, a second-round pick in 2015 and a conditional first-round pick in 2016.
Here are the projected line combinations:
Scratched: Taylor Beck
Scratched: Matt Hunwick
Status report: Talbot is expected to make his fifth straight start and 13th in the past 14 games since Lundqvist was diagnosed with a vascular injury to his neck. … Rinne, 1-3-1 in his past five games, likely will make his fourth straight start. … Yandle and Sheppard are each expected to make their debut for the Rangers.
Who's hot: Ribeiro has one goal and seven points in the past eight games. … Hayes has a goal in five of the past 10 games and has five goals and six assists in the past 12 games.
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