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Rinne back in net for Predators vs. Bruins

Nashville No. 1 goalie regrouped while sitting out two straight

by Robby Stanley / NHL.com Correspondent

BRUINS (31-20-6) at PREDATORS (26-21-10) 

TV: 8 p.m. ET; SN360, NESN, FS-TN, NHL.TV 

NASHVILLE -- Goaltender Pekka Rinne will be back in net for the Nashville Predators when they host the Boston Bruins at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday. 

Rinne sat out the past two games for the Predators in favor of goaltender Carter Hutton, who is 3-0-1 in his past four starts. Rinne is ready to get back in against the Bruins.

"Really excited, happy to be back in there," Rinne said. "Just a good opportunity for me to get back. The last couple days, last couple games, it was a good time for me to regroup and refocus and just get ready for the last stretch run and just work hard." 

Rinne is 3-0-1 against Boston in his career with a 2.32 goals-against average and .928 save percentage. He said he's not worried about rust creeping into his game with the time off. 

"There are so many games, it's not like you lose your thoughts on the ice or game conditioning or something like that," Rinne said. "It's fun to get back out there, and I think it was the right decision. [Hutton] was playing really well and we needed points and he got us some points. It gave me time to work hard and regroup and refocus, so I'm just excited to get back out there again." 

Nashville will mark the fifth stop on a six-game road trip for the Bruins. They have gone 3-1-0 so far and have been led offensively by forward Loui Eriksson, who has scored one goal in each game of the past four games. Eriksson scored in overtime against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. 

"It's always fun to score goals," Eriksson said. "It was nice to get the overtime goal there, and it was fun that it was in my 700th game too. It's pretty cool little milestone to get, and hopefully I can get some more here going forward." 

Here are the projected lineups: 

BRUINS 
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Brett Connolly  
Loui Eriksson - David Krejci - Jimmy Hayes  
Matt Beleskey - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak  
Landon Ferraro - Max Talbot - Tyler Randell  

Zdeno Chara - Zach Trotman  
Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid  
Dennis Seidenberg - Kevan Miller  

Tuukka Rask  
Jonas Gustavsson  

Injured: Chris Kelly (leg) 
Scratched: Zac Rinaldo, Joe Morrow  

PREDATORS 
Calle Jarnkrok - Ryan Johansen - James Neal  
Filip Forsberg - Mike Ribeiro - Craig Smith  
Colin Wilson - Mike Fisher - Viktor Arvidsson  
Miikka Salomaki - Paul Gaustad - Austin Watson  

Roman Josi - Shea Weber  
Mattias Ekholm - Ryan Ellis  
Anthony Bitetto - Barret Jackman  

Pekka Rinne  
Carter Hutton  

Injured: Eric Nystrom (broken foot) 
Scratched: Petter Granberg, Cody Bass  

Status report: The Bruins and Predators held optional morning skates. … Bergeron had a maintenance day Wednesday and is expected to play. … The Predators sent forward Gabriel Bourque to the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League on Wednesday on a long-term injury loan. Bourque has been out with an upper-body injury since he left a game against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 27. 

Who's hot: Eriksson has scored in four consecutive games. … Forsberg has five goals in his past five games.

 

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